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Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 1 month ago

Authentic Technical Professional Development Assignment:


RSS Aggregators

Definition of RSS:


  • RSS stands for RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary, or Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication.
  • It uses an XML format (eXtensible Markup Language) -- a language for representing information about resources in the World Wide Web -- that allows the syndication of lists of hyperlinks, along with metadata, that helps viewers decide whether they want to follow the link.
  • It provides an alternate means of accessing the vast amount of information that now exists on the world wide web.
  • Instead of the user browsing websites for information of interest, the information is sent directly to the user. (See WebTwoOh!)

How RSS works:


  • A web site can allow other sites to publish some of its content by creating an RSS document.
  • A web publisher can post a link to the rss feed so users can read the distributed content on his/her site.
  • Syndicated content can can include news feeds, listings of events, stories, headlines, etc.



BBC News Wired News c_net news Your Favorite Site

What to look for (those little orange buttons):

How an RSS Aggregator works:


  • Aggregators can be desk-top applications (read:$) or web-based (free).
  • Every hour the aggregator reads the "feeds" you're subscribed to.
  • You can browse headlines that are aggregated or you can select and click on a link to take you to the story in detail on the originating web page.


RSS aggregators are

  • Powerful: Bring many sites to one page
  • Simple: Easy to set up, easy to use
  • Efficient: Helps cope with clutter
  • Collaborative: You can share your feeds with others


Noted "bugs" in the RSS Aggregator world:

  • Aesthetics of websites/blogs are diminished.
  • No more browsing, e.g., less opportunity to see other items of interest (e.g., real library stacks and dictionaries vs. virtual ones)
  • Text heavy; no pictures!
  • The Weakness of RSS



So what can you do with your aggregator? Here are three ideas to get you started:



If you're feeling adventerous, you can learn how to syndicate the content on your web site.

This Feed2JS web site provides you a free service that can do all the hard work for you-- in 3 easy steps:

1. Find the RSS source, the web address for the feed.

2. Use our simple tool to build the JavaScript command that will display it

3. Optionally style it up to look pretty.


What are you waiting for?


Here are three free aggregators you can experiment with:


Of course there's more to choose from. For example, if you are simply looking for news feeds you might want to try:




This is a brief list of links that I found helpful in thinking about and using RSS aggregators:








    • Here is a good resource by Marshall Kirkpatrick on Teaching RSS.

Other Goodies:

  • RSS Calendar.com is a new way for individuals and organizations to share their calendars with family, friends, and co-workers - utilizing the latest in RSS technology, including RSS channel creation and aggregation.
  • Flickr - A free photo sharing site
  • del.icio.us - a social bookmark manager. It allows you to easily add sites you like to your personal collection of links, to categorize those sites with keywords, and to share your collection not only between your own browsers and machines, but also with others.
  • Tag Cloud - an automated Folksonomy tool. Essentially, Tag Cloud searches any number of RSS feeds you specify, extracts keywords from the content and lists them according to prevalence within the RSS feeds. Clicking on the tag's link will display a list of all the article abstracts associated with that keyword.
  • This page will astound you... I want to is a wiki page of utilities that help you do the "stuff" you want to.

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