Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Syndication and Website Content

Suggestions for Blogs, RSS
Walter Nelson (RAND, Library Webmaster)

RSS: the “I don’t get it” factor

  • very few customers understand RSS
  • You have to meet your customers where they are…
  • …Not where you want them to be

Simplifying RSS

  • Embed RSS into web pages
  • People “get” web pages
  • Use RSS without downloading
  • Still have it as a feed for “power users”

The Tools

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

Moveable 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
  • It can be formatted to BE your website

Movable Type – Features

  • Once installed, it is very easy to use
  • Administrators approve authors
  • Authors add content with web interface – no special software or skills required
  • Generates static, text based HTML pages (good for search engines)
  • Automatically generates RSS feed

Think Outside the Blog!

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


  • the second piece of the puzzle
  • Freeware 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

Hosted vs. Installed

  • You can use the Feed2JS 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

Use for:

Link Lists

Category Feeds can be displayed in different parts of a web page originating from a single blog. Ask me if you want more info and I’ll probably direct you to this guy…

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