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Syndication and Website Content Suggestions for Blogs, RSS and Internal Syndication Walter Nelson, RAND Corporation Library Webmaster.

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Presentation on theme: "Syndication and Website Content Suggestions for Blogs, RSS and Internal Syndication Walter Nelson, RAND Corporation Library Webmaster."— Presentation transcript:

1 Syndication and Website Content Suggestions for Blogs, RSS and Internal Syndication Walter Nelson, RAND Corporation Library Webmaster

2 RSS: The “I don’t get it” factor Very few customers understand RSS Third party feed readers are confusing You have to meet your customers where they are… …Not where you want them to be

3 Domesticating RSS Embed RSS into web pages People “get” web pages Use RSS without downloading anything Use RSS without knowing it is RSS Feed is still available for “Power Users”

4 What is RSS? “Feed” is a misnomer -- it doesn’t go anywhere It is a static page with a static URL It sits on the web and waits for your RSS reader to come and read it Readers monitor RSS pages for changes

5 What is RSS? XML file Simple HTML-like format You update it just like an HTML file--you change something and then post it to the server It contains brief text and links to other content

6 The Code: Bare Bones RSS Feed

7 The Tools Blog: Moveable Type RSS Parser: Feed2JS There are others on the market, but I won’t be talking about them

8 Movable Type – Set Up Installation is the hard part, but you only have to do it once Installed on your server (not hosted) Use “canned formats” or skilled web person can customize it (HTML & CSS) Can be formatted to look like your website

9 Movable Type - Features Once installed, it is very easy to use Administrators approve authors (login/password) Authors add content with web interface – no special software or skills required Uses SQL database to build/rebuild static, text based HTML pages or dynamic pages Automatically generates RSS feed Very “Google Friendly”

10 Movable Type Plug Ins Available on the “SixApart” website Provides dozens of additional custom features Can make it sort by something other than date Can provide structured data input Hundreds of options are available

11 Think Outside the Blog! The Blog is a technology with many useful features It is a database publishing tool which sorts chronologically and by category You don’t have to use a Blog for “Blogging” Corporate announcements, event calendar, image database, online newspaper etc. etc. etc….

12 Feed2JS The second piece of the puzzle Free ware from Maricopa County College You can use their sites or install it on your server Generates JavaScript which you can paste into your web page Displays RSS feed as a bulleted list of links on a web page

13 Hosted vs. Installed You can use the Feed2JS hosting sites at no charge and without any special preparation It’s REALLY easy to do Pitfall: your page will only load as fast as the distant server delivers content Moral: Install Feed2JS on your server if at all possible

14 “Announcements” is an RSS Feed

15 Click headline to get to blog entry

16 Creates searchable archive

17 Key Blog Entry Elements Title Subject categories (you define) Main entry (appears on blog home page) Extended entry (allows infinite detail - linked from main entry) Summary (appears in RSS feed) Notification (send emails of new posts) Editable date (you can fiddle with display order)

18 Data Entry Screen

19 Optional features “Comments” allows readers to comment or add additional content Comments should be mediated - spam is a HUGE problem “Trackback” allows others to link their sites to yours “Trackback” not very useful -- widely abused by spammers

20 Feed2JS Creates RSS Driven Web Content Open Feed2JS page Paste URL of RSS feed Select display options Generate JavaScript Paste the JavaScript into your web pages

21 The Feed2JS Interface

22 RSS Feed Additional Uses Add external newsfeeds (BBC, CNN, Google News etc.) to your website Create static “link list” as an RSS feed Use static feeds to maintain resource lists or menus Customers can subscribe to your link lists with RSS tools (Firefox, Safari, Sharepoint, IE7)

23 Example: Library News Page Center columns are external feeds, right & left columns are static “link list” feeds

24 Additional Option: Category Feeds Parse your RSS feed by category One blog creates multiple feeds Each category creates separate category home page Example: Art Deco Society of Los Angeles

25 Parsing Feeds by Category

26 RSS Option--Ditch the Blog! With Feed2Js, you can create link list content without a blog Custom RSS is more flexible than blog RSS You can hand code it if you are comfortable with HTML (it’s XML, but it will look pretty familiar) You can use a variety of freeware/cheapware RSS feed editors Linked content can be any web page, podcast etc.

27 Suggested Use of Category Feeds Set up branch libraries as “Categories” on your blog Display all announcements on the Home Page Display branch relevant announcements on each branch page

28 Quick Note on Podcasts Very hip, very cool, very happening, very now Easy to do Need digital recording hardware and software (standard on new Macs--available for PCs) MP3 sound file + RSS feed = Podcast Do you have anything to say?

29 Current Applications Corporate Intranet announcements parsed by location and department Library announcements Library “Hints & Tips” & “Cool websites” Meetings and user tests for development projects Record conference attendance (I’m blogging this)

30 Current non-applications Like, today I went to the gym--god I’m getting fat. You know, I really think Brittany Spears is cool. Fried twinkies--like what’s that all about blah, blah, blah… Clearly this is another attempt by the liberal media to advance the agenda of blah, blah, blah…

31 In the Pipeline at RAND Will be used by RAND Library to create “Subject Resource Pages” Subject specialists maintain their subject pages Sort by assigned value rating (highest on top) Infinite detail under “More information” link RSS feed of “New stuff”

32 In the Pipeline Outside RAND Will be used by Art Deco Society of Los Angeles to create database of local architecture Will include photographs and “More information” links Categories used to create browsable lists Multiple authors add to database without risk of “breaking it”

33 SIRSI Related Uses EPS allows you to present a search as an RSS feed - dynamically updated Third party tools can squeeze RSS feeds of new accessions and other things from UNICORN - EPS not required As RSS tools proliferate, new ways will be suggest themselves for presenting SIRSI content throughout your website

34 Key Points Blog software allows any authorized person to add content to web pages of infinite variety Unskilled users won’t mess up your website Feed2JS allows you to simultaneously post link list content to everywhere you pasted the JavaScript Static feeds simplify list maintenance and also allow patrons to “subscribe” to your resource lists

35 What’s the downside? Moveable Type is cheap Feed2JS is free Takes a little local labor and skill to set up Downside risk: it doesn’t take off Budgets aren’t broken, nobody gets fired Hey, give it a shot

36 Proof of Concept on the Cheap Use hosted blog like Bloglines Use hosted Feed2JS See how it works for you (note: it will be slower in a hosted mode) No cost, no software installation, no risk

37 Some Closing Cynicism Most “empowered” users don’t use their power Blogs languish if bloggers don’t contribute Podcasts are useless to those who have nothing to say Don’t rely on broad staff participation Success or failure will come from a few active loudmouths and not the passive, apathetic majority

38 Questions?

39 How to reach me Walter Nelson:

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