Library News Tutorial

HOWTO: Integrating your Library’s KLOW site with an RSS Screen Saver

Today we have a guest post from Thatcher Rea from Basehor Library. Enjoy!


Thatcher Rea
Technology Services Coordinator
Basehor Community Library

Hopefully your decision to use KLOW for your library website has been an incredibly enjoyable experience – Basehor Library’s move meant not only could we more quickly publish content to our website, we could have multiple librarians and staff authoring content as soon as it was ready, instead of waiting for a webmaster to massage and publish the content.

The use of KLOW brings a number of really helpful and interesting features – one of which is RSS. If you’re not familiar with this feature, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and is quickly becoming the preferred method of keeping up to date with other web sites in an automated fashion, without visiting the website from which the content originated.

Users of KLOW will also have the added benefit of being able to create specific categories, and then use RSS feeds from those categories specifically (Which KLOW does for you automatically). Combine this with a freely available RSS Screen Saver and you now have a simple, yet powerful tool for prominently displaying information in your library. Update the website, and your information is automatically updated and displayed without any further effort on your part.

This sounds great you may ask, but what would we use it for? By being able to subscribe to an RSS feed for a specific category within your KLOW site means you can use this approach for a variety of different uses. For example:

  • Displaying helpful tips on your public access computers for patrons at your library
  • Display upcoming events on a public computer marquee
  • Any other creative uses – the sky is the limit!

One such product that we at Basehor have used is by NuParadigm – there are other free RSS Screen Savers out there, and you may find one that you like better, but so far this one has worked out well for us.

Click below to see how!
So let’s get down to it, shall we? Let’s say we want to use this Screen Saver on our public access computers, to display helpful computing tips like, “Where is your printer?” or, “Did you know we have writable CDs for sale?” We can do so by the following:

1. Create a new category in KLOW.

If you’re unfamiliar with this feature login to the admin section of your website, click Manage -> Categories -> “Add New”, as show below:

2. Start building new posts using this category.

Create new posts like you would do normally, but be sure to add them to your newly created category. If you do not want them to show up on your front page blog, you may want to consider backdating these posts before creating them.

3. Make note of your RSS URL for that category.

You’ll want to verify the URL of the RSS feed for this new category that you’ve created – we’ll plug this in to our screensaver on our public access computers. Your URL should look something like this:

(The areas in red you need to change to match your website)

4. Install, and setup your screensaver.

You can download and install NuParadigm’s RSS screensaver from the link here, or you can find another one to use. Basically, they will all want a RSS feed URL to point to – that will be the value you figured out in step 3. Plug this in, and setup your screensaver how you desire.

You’re done!

You know have a simple, paperless way to keep your patrons in touch with information they need about your library, all for a very small amount of effort.