Personalized home pages and social bookmarking aren’t anything new. People have been using, iGoogle, Yahoo! 360, and others for several years. Last week, The New York Times launched their MyTimes home page to a broader audience. On Net @ Night in early August hosts Leo Laporte and Amber McArthur interviewed the CEO of Pageflakes. These two events got me thinking a bit more about home page services and social bookmarking in a broader context.

For a lot of people customized home pages are a way to conveniently bring together RSS feeds. In other words the home page becomes the place to keep up with the latest information from the sources in which someone is interested. This is the main focus of The NYTimes MyTimes service. MyTimes is seeded with RSS feeds from sections of The New York Times. Users of the service can add and delete from those feeds. They can also add feeds from outside of The NY Times.

PageFlakes takes this idea of RSS reader and adds something they call PageCasts to it. PageCasts are customized home pages that users create on a particular topic and that they want to give others access to. For example, one of the highlighted PageCasts at PageFlakes is titled Anime Kingdom. This is a PageCast that is filled with links to blog posts, YouTube videos, filmographies, and news all on the topic of anime.

Another PageCast is Afrosphere. This PageCast acts as a newspaper of recent news. Blog posts, news articles, feeds from organizations are all included in this PageCast.

Anyone interested in a PageCast that’s already been created can copy it or subscribe to it in order to keep up with the topic.

What does this have to do with teens and libraries? Well, what if teens in your library created PageCasts of resources on topics in which they are interested? Wouldn’t this be a great way for the library to develop web-based resource lists? The lists would be by teens for teens? Once created the PageCasts can be available for teens, and others, around the world to use.

With PageFlakes teens can also create the look and feel of their PageCast. There are templates to choose from, but the site also provides for individuality so teens can make the PageCasts they create their own both in terms of content and design.

Of course personalized home pages saved on the web are a form of social networking. As such personalized home pages provide opportunities for teens and librarians to work together to create content of use to a small or large group of people. Giving teens the chance to create PageCasts will also give you the opportunity to talk with them about how to select and evaluate resources. So this not only becomes a great way to create but a great opportunity to critically think about content.

If you are interested in the varieties of personalized home page services available you might check out Mashable’s roundup on the topic that was published earlier in the summer.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.

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