Blogs, Feeds, RSS and Syndication - Huh?

Let’s start with blogs…

A blog is simply another web site. It is, however, a distinct kind of web site. Blog is short for weblog and it is a sort of online journal. A blog is made up of a series of articles or journal entries, known as posts. Each time a new post is made it goes at the top of the list and old posts are archived. Therefore, a blog is a web site that is arranged chronologically. Most blogs will also have an archive that lets you find and read old posts.

The best way to understand blogging is to have a look at some blogs. You are reading the Sutherland Shire Libraries blog now but you might like to have a look at a few others:
CrunchGear – what’s new in gadgets and technology.
Strange New Products – just what it says.

Anyone can have a blog. There are personal blogs, news blogs, company blogs and more. There are free blogging tools available on the web such as Blogger, Typepad and WordPress and you don’t necessarily even need any technical know-how to create or publish one.

That’s all fine but web sites have been publishing new articles for ages – what makes blogs so special? Well, blog software generally allows the author to produce an XML Feed in addition to the blog itself. Almost all blogs provide you with a link to their feed.

So what is a Feed…

A feed is a coded view of the blog. Feeds are not exclusive to blogs (have a look at the ABC’s list of feeds) but most blogs have one. Have you ever noticed the rss feed icon or rss feed icon icons on a web site? These little images indicate that the web site publishes a feed. Have a look at the top right of this page – can you see the feed icon?

Feed code Screen ShotIf you’ve ever clicked on one of these you’ll know that the resulting page often contains impenetrable looking code like this. You probably thought to yourself, ‘too much work, I don’t want to know’. That’s OK. Feeds aren’t meant to be read by people they’re for computers to read. The feed is written in a code called RSS, which stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication depending on who you talk to.

They are coded so that computers can make sense of the blog. Since the feed code is machine readable other web sites or software programs can understand the feed if you tell them where to find it. The feed allows the content from a blog to be syndicated or aggregated, that is, re-used somewhere else. The important thing for us is the URL or address of the feed, which often looks something like

So why should I care about feeds?

Let’s say you have a dozen web sites that you like to read consistently. Have you got time to visit each of those sites daily to check whether there is any new content? Neither have I, I’ve got better things to do with my time. There are, however, web sites and software called aggregators that can bring the content from all of your chosen sites together in one place – and they automatically retrieve the new information when the sites you are watching are updated.

Sounds great! How do I do it?

To listen to music on your computer you need a player such as Windows Media Player. Similarly, to subscribe to web feeds you need an aggregator. The good news is that there are many aggregators available for free.

You may even already have one. Do you have a Yahoo mail or Gmail account? If you do you already have an aggregator. Both Google and Yahoo create a personalized home page account when you sign up for their email services. You can add feeds to your personalised home page so that the headlines from your favourite blogs or web sites appear whenever you visit. Maybe you use Firefox? The live bookmarks feature allows you to view headlines from your favourite feeds right in the browser.

Alternatively, you might prefer to have a stand alone news aggregator. You can get aggregators that you install on your computer such as Feedreader or FeedDemon but most people are now using online aggregators such as Bloglines, Newsgator or Netvibes.

Once you have settled on an aggregator you need to add feeds from your favourite sites. When you discover a site you want to subscribe to right-click on the feed icon (shown above) and select Copy Shortcut (Firefox users select Copy Link Location). Go to your aggregator and select Add Content (or something similar) and paste the feed URL into the text box. When you have submitted the feed address your reader should display the headlines from the feed. Whenever new content is added to the site the aggregator will be automatically updated. It doesn’t matter how many web sites you subscribe to – 5 or 500 – you only have to visit your aggregator to see the current content.

Senior Geography Projects on Cronulla Beaches

Updated 11 October 2008.

Do you need information about pollution or erosion on Cronulla’s beaches for your senior geography project? Well, Sutherland Library can assist you with the various resources we have on this topic.

You can browse reports, management plans and articles from local newspapers. For more details ask for our environmental guide - Cronulla beaches : pollution and erosion at the Reference Library Help Desk on the 1st Floor. It lists the resources that are available and their location in the Library. A good place to start is the Bate Bay Coastline Management Plan.

You can get started online with some of these resources.

Council Documents

State of the Environment Report: this annual publication describes the pressures on, and state of, the environment within the Sutherland Shire while also providing relevant background information to the various environmental response programs being undertaken by council and other agencies. Previous SOE reports are available in the Library.

The Strategic Plan, Teh Management Plan and the State of the Shire 2004 report: these 3 related documents establish the Council's goals for the future of the Sutherland Shire, the key strategies that need to be implemented to achieve the goals and the current situation. These documents should be used together. That is the Strategic Plan sets out the vision, the Management Plan establishes the strategy as well as how performance will be assessed and the State of the Shire measures whether we are achieving the goals.

Other Organisations

Sutherland Shire Environment Centre: The SSEC web site has a wealth of information about environmental issues in the Shire, including Kurnell, Bate Bay and the Hacking River. There is plenty of material to explore regarding pollution and erosion around Cronulla.

Sydney Water - Cronulla STP: The Sydney Water web site has some information about the sewerage and stormwater management operations including a factsheet about the Cronulla Sewerage Treatment Plant. Information about the Cronulla STP can be a bit hard to find but a Google search does a pretty good job.

Newspaper Articles

Sutherland Shire Local Newspaper Index: You can search for articles about the environmental issues facing Cronulla in this database, which indexes articles with local content from local papers such as the Leader. Bring your list of references to Sutherland Library where you can view the old newspapers. Some search terms to get you started include Cronulla beach* erosion, Cronulla beach* pollution or Cronulla beach* sewerage.

School Holiday Activities @ your Library

The School Holidays are nearly upon us and if you're looking for something for the kids to do then why not get involved in one of our school holiday activities. There are storytimes/craft for younger and older primary school kids at all branch libraries. Trevor's popular Drawing Workshops are back and we have a very special Creative Writing Workshop being given by Sue Whiting.

You need to book your place in these activities so make sure you visit the Events Calendar and get all the details.

Hope to see you there!

Fiction Follies: September 2006

Fiction Follies is a monthly newsletter containing a selection of NEW fiction added to the collection of the Sutherland Shire Libraries. Click on the book title to reserve your copy.

New Mysteries
Saturday’s child by Ray Banks
A hard boiled British crime novel. The “hero” Cal Innes has just gotten out of Strangeways Prison and is struggling to stay on the right side of the law. For fans of the early Matt Scudder novels.

Cage of stars by Jacqueline Mitchard
Suspenseful, well written mystery about the difficult moral choices involved when a woman hunts down the killer of her two younger sisters.

Sour grapes by Marilyn Todd
The 12th Claudia Seferius Roman mystery. A fast moving historical mystery for readers who like the snappy style of Janet Evanovich or Sue Grafton rather than a mystery with authentic period detail.

The Chinese take out by Judith Cutler
This novel introduces a new heroine, Josie Welford, the widow of a notorious underworld criminal and recent licensee of the White Hart pub. Contains a contemporary feel in a typical English setting.

Hidden by Katy Gardner
British detective mystery thriller. A woman is savagely murdered while another meets and marries a stranger. Her new life is shattered when her daughter disappears. Could her new husband be involved with the disappearance and the earlier murder?

Punishment by Anne Holt
A killer is punishing women in the worst way. Abducting and murdering their children then returning their bodies with a note “you deserved this.” Set in Norway.

Black sheep by Arlene Hunt
The third book by “a unique voice in Irish crime fiction. Her dark and atmospheric stories perfectly capture the grimy underworld of Dublin and beyond” – from official website. When David Reid’s body is found in a Dublin canal his brother, unhappy with the findings of Dublin police, enlists the help of Investigators John Quigley and Sarah Kenny to find the answers. But David had a more complicated life than his brother realised.

Butcher by Campbell Armstrong
Glasgow Detective Lou Perlman is described by the publishers as making Taggart look cheerful. “Lou Perlman doesn’t do romance. He doesn’t do authority. He definitely doesn’t do housework. But he is in a class of his own." Daily Record, 15 July 2006.

Silent sleep of the dying by Keith McCarthy
Forensic mystery with lots of gruesome details. Should appeal to readers of Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs as well as Robin Cook.

The merchant’s mark by Pat McIntosh
Historical murder mystery set in 15th century Scotland. Gil Cunningham’s friend is accused of murder when a box he receives contains a severed head. Good period detail.

New Thrillers

After the mourning by Barbara Nadel
England, 1940. The military police are looking for a gypsy they believe is a Nazi spy, while another gypsy girl is found stabbed to death after claiming to see a vision of the Virgin Mary.

Dance of death by John Case
Described in the synopsis as his “most diabolically chilling novel to date, as the very fabric of civilisation threatens to come apart in the hands of a brilliant madman…” Bent on revenge he decides to begin the apocalypse.

Flint’s code by Paul Eddy
Undercover Police woman Grace Flint tackles a dangerous assignment. She must infiltrate an East European money laundering operation. Ruthless, shocking, brilliant.

Copper kiss by Tom Neale
FBI agent Vincent Piper is back in London, determined not to screw up this time. But, the love of his life, high-class call girl, Celeste Young is in trouble. Her brother is putting together an online sex blog but one by one the call girls are being murdered.

Satan’s church by Cam Lavac
What if the Roman Catholic Church got it all wrong? What is the terrible mystery of The Prophecy, and why does the Vatican stop at nothing to try and destroy this document? Father Peter LeSarus and Sister Christina find themselves caught up in a desperate struggle to find the truth before it is lost forever.

New Family Sagas and Romance

Rainbow years by Rita Bradshaw
An unforgettable wartime saga in the bestselling tradition of Catherine Cookson.

Look for the silver lining by June Francis
Pregnant and facing the horrors of the Blitz alone, Nellie's life is in turmoil. But all that could be changed when a mysterious man she never thought to see again reappears in her life.

The lieutenant’s lover by Harry Bingham
This is a sweeping epic of adventure and enduring love, from Russia in revolutionary upheaval to the chaos of post-War Berlin. Misha is an aristocratic young officer in the army when the Russian revolution sweeps away all his certainties. Tonya is a nurse from an impoverished family in St Petersburg. They should have been bitter enemies; and yet they fall passionately in love.

Hush, little baby by Katherine Davies
Eira is alone. She loved Jack, but their relationship had to end - she could never have a baby with an alcoholic. Now she works in a quiet museum, in the middle of a park, desperately lonely and aching for someone to love. And one spring morning, she finds a baby in a box on the museum steps.

Lucky girl by Fiona Gibson
Stella has made sure her life couldn’t be further from her chaotic upbringing, until two noisy little girls move in next door bearing sticky gifts. But their friendship helps her to confront the truth about her own childhood and start living life to the full.

The second wife by Elizabeth Buchan
An irresistible story of love, grief and renewal that explores that nature of friendship and the bonds that grow strongest when stretched to breaking. For fans of Katie Fforde and Cathy Kelly.

Coming apart at the seams by Lucy Sweet
Glasgow isn't quite what Evie expected: snotty fashionista people, a volatile landlady and a gorgeous moody boy who's proving to be a complete distraction - none of this is part of the tailor-made plan.

Other New Fiction

The birthdays by Heidi Pitlor
A beautifully told debut in the tradition of Sue Miller about a unique family on the brink of a new generation.

Map of bones by James Rollins
A gripping and explosive novel of an ancient conspiracy to create a terrifying new world order out of the ashes of modern civilization. A combination of the exhilarating mysticism of The Da Vinci Code with the pulse-pounding action of a Tom Clancy thriller.

Material girl by Louise Kean
Original and funny take on modern life for fans of Marian Keyes.

Symphony by Jude Morgan
From the acclaimed author of Passion comes an audacious, brilliant and haunting novel in which the worlds of nineteenth-century theatre, of Romantic art and music, of revolutionary Europe, of inspiration and madness, are presented with the dazzle of a world-class orchestra. Symphony embodies the wild intensity of the lives of the actress Harriet Smithson and Hector Berlioz.

The religion by Tim Willocks
Violent, bloodthirsty and gripping depiction of the 14th century seige of Malta.

Mr midshipman fury by G. S. Beard
A brilliant sea-faring novel in the bestselling tradition of CS Forester and Patrick O'Brian.

Have you recently seen an interesting book that we don’t have? Visit our web site to Suggest an Item for the Library's collection.

Collection Capers: September 2006

Collection Capers is a monthly newsletter of NEW interesting or unusual non-fiction added to the Sutherland Shire Libraries collection.

Friendship an expose by Joseph Epstein
A wry, critical analysis of the changing face of modern-day friendship examines the diverse forces and factors that have shaped friendship, presenting a witty look at the various types of friendships, the differences between male and female friendships, the duties and requirements of friendship, the impact of marriage and change.

Waking : a memoir of trauma and transcendence by Matthew Sanford
An inspirational memoir about a car accident that ended the lives of two of the author's family members and rendered him a paraplegic. He describes he, his mother and brother picked up the pieces of their lives, his recuperation at the Mayo Clinic, and his decision to become a disabled yoga instructor. The author discovers for himself a new meaning of being and living.

Written on the skin : an Australian forensic casebook by Liz Porter
With a title that could make Friday night ABC crime TV this book shows how forensic investigators, including pathologists, chemists, entomologists, and document examiners, have used their expertise in dozens of fascinating crimes. Readers can picture DrsSam Ryan and Iain McCallum performing their gruesome work.

Rebel Queen : the trial of Caroline by Jane Robbins
The extraordinary story of how the wife of George IV was tried by Parliament for adultery. This action made her a figurehead for anti-government feeling and nearly sparked a revolution. The trial became one of the first true celebrity scandals in which the emerging popular press took sides, confirming the power of 'public opinion'. This was also at a time of rising parliamentarypower and decreasing royal influence.

Gravity’s arc : the story of gravity, from Aristotle to Einstein and beyond by David Darling
Gravity, it gets to all of us. The history of speculation and analysis of gravity is the story of pure research into the unknown. Most ideas of space and time before Copernicus were based on an Earth centric view derived from Aristotle and the Bible. The 16th century brought great leaps forward in science, maths and medicine. Kepler, when working on planetary motion produced 900 pages of calculations, without Excel or Photoshop. That would be enough to get him into the science hall of fame. In fact most of the important work was done without any electronic input. Just some quill pens, parchment and a few ripe apples.

Brainwash : the secret history of mind control by Dominic Streatfield
What would it take to turn you into a suicide bomber, or release Sarin gas? This book traces the evolution of the world's most secret psychological procedure, from its origins in the Cold War to the height of the war on terror. If you read Joseph Conrad’s The secret agent you will get a glimpse of the nefarious world of brainwashing. Of course many have seen the same idea used by religious cults and department stores.How else to you explain the mad consumer fever that grips people every Boxing Day?

Women who changed the world : 50 inspirational women who shaped history
A celebration of the lives, careers and influences of 50 women. From empire builders and healers to daring explorers and iconoclastic thinkers, from queens and politicians to musicians and nurses. with the odd saint or two 2 thrown in as well. This would be a good resource for many school projects.

The dead man in the bunker : discovering my father by Martin Pollack
Gerhard Bast, was found shot in an abandoned bunker in northern Italy in April 1947. Martin Pollack, his son, was then three and has no memories of his father. In attempting to piece together his father's life, Pollack assembles the memories of family and friends. His father was a Gestapo leader in Austria and a participant in mass murder in Poland and Slovakia. It must have been a painful journey into his father's dark past for the author.

Struck by lightning : the curious world of possibilities by Jeffrey S. Rosenthal
This book deconstructs the odds and oddities of chance, examining both the relevant and irreverent role of randomness in our everyday lives. It explains the mechanics of randomness and teaches us how to develop an informed perspective on probability. It doesn’t explain why the Cronulla Sharks are going so badly. It’s probably the probability of meeting better teams.

The quantum zoo : a tourist’s guide to the neverending universe by Marcus Chown
The two towering achievements of modern physics are quantum theory and Einstein's general theory of relativity. This book attempts to explain both without giving you a migraine. But is it worth the risk? Perhaps it’s better to go back to pre-Copernican days and flat Earth beliefs. At least they made sense.

Not buying it : my year without shopping by Judith Levine
The author traces a year during which she and her partner struggled with a pledge to avoid consumer spending practices in spite of their American conditioning, an effort that had a profound impact on their careers, family relationships, and personal identities. I find it hard just getting through Lent, and most of us would probably give up at the first sale we came across.

On the road to Kandahar : travels through conflict in the Islamic world by Jason Burke
Reflecting his intimate knowledge of the Islamic world, the author addressed the wider question of how we are to get to grips with radical Islam and what it really means. He tries to show how various and un-monolithic Islam is, and how the sort of standard Western generalizations about it are dangerous.

Getting stoned with savages : a trip through the islands of Fiji and Vanuatu by Maarten Troost
In the sequel to The Sex Lives of Cannibals, the author returns to the South Pacific, heading to Vanuatu and Fiji, where he and his wife cope with Mother Nature--typhoons, earthquakes, volcanoes--the relaxed lifestyle of the islanders, and new parenthood. This might be a nice change from the pains and perils of everyday life.

Have you recently seen an interesting book that we don’t have? Visit our web site to Suggest an Item for the Library's collection.

Illustrator Emma Quay Visits Sutherland Library

It was a priviledge for us to have children's book illustrator Emma Quay visit Sutherland Library on Friday 1st September to read her book, Good Night, Me, as part of the National Simultaneous Storytime. Emma entertained the kids with her stories and stayed to chat and sign books for the parents. Check out these photos of Emma and the kids at the Library.

August Additions to our Web Resources

These are the August additions to our collection of Web Resources, web sites and online resources selected by our librarians. We are always adding interesting sites to our collection and the list is constantly updated on the New Sites page of our site.
BBC News - South Asia Quake
News, pictures, and analysis of the earthquake centred on Kashmir in Pakistan on 8 October 2005 from the BBC News web site.
Date added: 23 August, 2006. Page: Disasters.
BBC News - Hurricane Katrina
News, pictures, video and analysis of Hurricane Katrina from the BBC News web site.
Date added: 23 August, 2006. Page: Disasters.
Librarian's Internet Index - Hurricane Katrina
A collection of web sites about Hurricane Katrina including news coverage, recovery and impacts.
Date added: 23 August, 2006. Page: Disasters.
The Era - Burning Palms Protection League
The Protection League was formed in 1945 to prevent the destruction of the shack communities at Little Garie, Era and Burning Palms beaches in the Royal National Park. The RNP Plan of Management (POM), adopted in February 2000, now recognises the heritage values of the cabin areas. The Plan requires that the cabins be retained with Licensing conditions to ensure that their cultural heritage values and the social context of the cabin communities are conserved.
Date added: 18 August, 2006. Page: Local Environment.
Press Conference regarding the withdrawal of the Migration Legislation to enable offshore processing of asylum seekers
A transcript of the Prime Minister The Hon John Howard MP Press Conference, Parliament House, Canberra, 14 August 2006.
Date added: 16 August, 2006. Page: Immigration and Refugees.
Counselling Online
Counselling Online is a website where you can communicate with a "live" professional counsellor about an alcohol or drug related concern. This service is for anyone seeking help about their own drug use or the drug use of a family member, relative or friend. The service is free and available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, across Australia.
Date added: 16 August, 2006. Page: Drug Information.
Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill 2006
This is the Bill introduced to the Australian Parliament by the Liberal Party that seeks to transfer all unauthorised boat arrivals to Offshore Processing Centres for assessment of their claims for asylum.
Date added: 2 August, 2006. Page: Immigration and Refugees.
Crime Scene Investigation
Articles about crime scene investigation including sections on response, evidence collection, crime scene photography and forensic techniques.
Date added: 2 August, 2006. Page: Forensic Science.
From Fingerprints to DNA
From the ABC Science web site, this article explores the use of forensic science in solving a hypothetical crime.
Date added: 1 August, 2006. Page: Forensic Science.