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Disseminating News Within Your Organisation. Email [email protected] [email protected] URL http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/. Brian Kelly / Pete Cliff UKOLN University of Bath Bath, BA2 7AY. UKOLN is supported by:. Session Aims. This session Includes hands-on exercises and group discussions

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Disseminating news within your organisation l.jpg

Disseminating News Within Your Organisation


[email protected]

[email protected] URL


Brian Kelly / Pete Cliff


University of Bath

Bath, BA2 7AY

UKOLN is supported by:

Session aims l.jpg
Session Aims

  • This session

    • Includes hands-on exercises and group discussions

  • By the end of the session you should:

    • Be aware of the potential of automated new feeds within an institutional context

    • Be aware of current standards for news feeds

    • Have made use of RSS viewers and authoring tools

    • Have a feeling for the different models for managing news

    • Be in a position to make recommendations on local approaches to the provision of news feeds

Timetable l.jpg

  • 16:00: Start of workshop

    • Introduction

    • Current Approaches To News Feeds And Their Limitations

    • Approaches to Automated News Feeds

    • Standards For News Feeds

    • Creating Your Own News Feed

    • Deployment Issues

    • Conclusions

  • 17:30

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Exercise 1

  • In small groups briefly discuss the following

  • 1.1 What is your background?

  • 1.2 Review news services within your institution

  • 1.3 Describe the limitations of existing news services within your institution

Try not to spend too long on this exercise(3 mins)

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About External News Feeds

  • Many Web sites (e.g. Guardian, Moreover) now provide news feeds:

    • Go to Web site

    • Select topics, look-and-feel, etc.

    • Javascript code created, which you embed within your own page

    • When user views page, the Javascript code pulls the current news information

    • Alternatively you may be given the format of the news feed, and you write your own CGI script to pull the news

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The Guardian Feed

  • An example of a Guardian news feed is illustrated.

  • Note that you have to use your own Perl script to process the news information.

  • All the Guardian provides is the URL of the news feed.

See <http://www.guardian.co.uk/distribution/>

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  • Moreover provides a wizard for choosing your news feed and its appearance

To use the news feed, simply include the JavaScript code in your Web page

<!-- Start Of Moreover.com News Javascript Code -->

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="Javascript">


// load global_article array with articles from category

if (article != null)

See <http://w.moreover.com/webmaster/>

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Need For Standards

  • Proprietary approach:

    • Every supplier has its own format for news feeds

    • Many different applications needed to download and parse news feeds

  • Standards approach:

    • Open standard format for news

    • Single application can be used with news feeds from different suppliers

    • Easier to provide news as well as use news feeds provided by others

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  • RSS:

    • Originally (v 0.9) stood for Rich Site Summary

    • A popular lightweight XML standard for distributing news feeds and syndication

    • Now an RDF application – RDF Site Summary

<item rdf:about="http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-DOM-Level-3-Events-20010410/">

<title>DOM Level 3 Events Working Draft Published</title>

<description>10 April 2001: The DOM Working Group has published an updated Working Draft of ….</description>



Now try exercises 1, 2 and 3 to gain experiences in using and creating RSS

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Parsing RSS

  • W3C’s news information is available as an RSS file

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Creating RSS

  • RSSxpress is an example of a Web-based tool which can be used to createan RSS file

  • This tool was developed by UKOLN

Other tools are available to create RSS, and expect to see them in a CMS (Zope already does this).

See <http://www.blogspace.com/rss/>

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Converting XHTML

  • Use the Syndicate Your Page service by:

    • Adding some simple <span> tags

    • Use Syndicate Your Page to transform your (lightly-structured) page to RSS

The output can then be processed by an RSS parser

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Approaches To Viewing

  • UKOLN has two RSS parsers:

  • RSSxpress:

    • A CGI program

    • Requires SysAdmin to install locally and configure

    • Works with any browser

  • RSSxpress-lite:

    • JavaScript solution which can be used by HTML authors

    • Browser must support JavaScript

    • Need style sheet to improve appearance of news feeds

See <http://rssxpress.ukoln.ac.uk/> and <http://rssxpress.ukoln.ac.uk/lite/>

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Other Parsers (1)

  • RSS was originally developed to enable published to provide resources which could be can be processed by My.Netscape.com

NOTE My.Netscape made use of RSS 0.9, not RSS 1.0.

Netscape appear to no longer be developing RSS

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Other Parsers (2)


  • The Redland RSS 1.0 Viewer is an open source Web serviceallowing you to take RSS 1.0 feeds and format them as HTML.

  • It was developed by Dave Beckett, ILRT, University of Bristol.

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Other Parsers (3)

See <http://www.vertexdev.com/HeadlineViewer/>

  • Headline Viewer is an MS Windows application that lets you see news headlines from a configurable list of Headline providers

Moreover provide a free tickertape application

See <http://w.moreover.com/dev/ticker.html>

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Other Parsers (4)


  • A final example of a news reader is Feedreader.

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Deployment Issues

  • Before deployment of news services in your institution:

    • What management issues need to be addressed?

    • What technical issues need to be addressed?

  • In addition:

    • Who should be providing news feeds which would be of use to your institution?

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Technical Issues

  • Issues:

    • Security and performance

    • Creation tools

    • Management tools

    • Information Flow Models

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Management Issues

  • Issues:

    • Justification

    • Resource implications

    • Quality of information (automated deletion, etc.)

    • Duplication of information

    • Inappropriate information

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Who Should be Doing This?

  • Which institutions should be providing news feed which would benefit institutions?

    • Funding bodies (e.g. JISC, HEFCE, EU, etc.) so that news of new funding calls will be available within institutional Web sites automatically

    • National services (e.g. JISC services, LTSNs, etc.) so that information about news services, events, etc. can be provided in an automated way

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Further Developments

  • Creating and viewing news feeds is relatively simple.

  • Possible enhancements include:

    • Personalised interfaces to news feeds

    • Searching news feeds

    • Management models for news feeds

    • Integration with Content Management Systems

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Personalised Feeds

  • SOSIG’s My.SOSIG service allows users to choose their preferred news feeds, including:

    • Commercial news

    • HE feeds (JISCMail)

  • Note that the JISCMail feed makes use of an emailRSS conversion filter


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Because the search results are in RSS format, they can be processed by any RSS parser

Searching News Feeds

  • The RDN has a Behind the Headlines service

  • Small number of today’s news items are chosen and used as a search string to the RDN hubs

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Searching News Feeds processed by any RSS parser

  • You can provide pages containing “canned” searches of news feeds

  • For example:

    • Your Research & Grants Unit could provide results of a search for “funding” from news feeds provided by JISC, HEFCE and the EU.

  • The Careers Department could provide results of a search for “funding”

Models l.jpg

Local News processed by any RSS parser




National News



Community(e.g. MIDAS)


  • Good For User

  • The end user can choose her news feeds, including local news, news from JISC services and news from third parties

  • Good For Service

  • The service can chose its own information

  • flow model. Its news is disseminated automatically.

Institution (e.g. Bath)

Zope CMS outputs to RSS & XHTML

XHTML converted to RSS


External(e.g. BBC)

Structured database converted to RSS

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Conclusions processed by any RSS parser

  • What conclusions have we reached:

    • On the potential for use of news feeds by our institution

    • On our institutional policies on providing news feeds for use by others

    • On technical approaches we could be using

    • On managerial issues which need to be addressed