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http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/meetings/edinburgh-2006-09/. Web 2.0: The Potential Of RSS And Location Based Services. Aims: Build on recent Scottish-web-people and JISC meetings Explore options for enhancing use of RSS Advice to JISC & JISC Services

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web 2 0 the potential of rss and location based services


Web 2.0: The Potential Of RSS And Location Based Services

  • Aims:
    • Build on recent Scottish-web-people and JISC meetings
    • Explore options for enhancing use of RSS
    • Advice to JISC & JISC Services
    • Discuss institutional perspective
    • Start discussions on simple location-based services



Brian Kelly


University of Bath


Resources bookmarked using 'edinburgh-2006-09' tag

UKOLN is supported by:

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat)

  • This brief talk (14 slides) will cover:
  • RSS:
    • News feeds  Syndication
    • Navigation  Maximising impact
  • Location-Based Services
    • Google Maps mashups
    • Location-based metadata (and microformats)
  • Deployment Challenges
    • Should we do it?
    • What are the barriers?
    • Where to from here?




  • RSS:
    • Killer lightweight format
    • Initially used to allow news to be embedded in others Web sites
    • Now used for general syndication of content
    • Use in Blogs helped in take-up
    • Lots of ways of using RSS, creating RSS, RSS tools, etc.

See An Introduction To RSS And News FeedsQA Focus briefing document no. 78

jisc services rss aggregator

Desktop alerting RSS tool (Google Desktop)

JISC Services RSS Aggregator



  • JISC Services RSS Aggregator:
    • Example of a Web-based RSS reader
    • Feeds determined by service provider
rss as a navigational aid

RSS file for home page (and similar) provides links to each issue

RSS file for an issue provides table of contents for issue

RSS As A Navigational Aid



  • RSS feeds for structure of Cultivate Interactive created recently

RSS files created in Aug 2006, usingRSSxl (see later)

rss opml as a navigational aid

But I can provide such navigation using my CMS?

Yes, but remember that the interface can be embedded on 3rd party Web sites – which your CMS doesn’t manage

Mashups – take the information to thepeople, don’t force them to come to you

RSS & OPML As A Navigational Aid


  • OPML provides an import/export function for groups of RSS files
  • Can also be used for navigation
searching rss space


Thoughts – if you want to be visible in Technorati, you’ll need to create RSS – or encourage others to Blog about you

Searching RSS Space


  • Technorati provides a searching service for Blog space/RSS space


creating the rss

No need for a complex CMS!

Some trivial edits allowed the feeds to be tidied up. File saved as static file with persistent URI. Approach v. useful for legacy data (old projects). Not will be even better in IE 7 / FF 2 world.

Creating The RSS



  • Lot’s of ways, but a simple technique for existing resources is to make use of an HTML-RSS converter.
  • Can process:
    • ‘Microformats’ e.g. <span class= “rss:item”>
    • Arbitrary text such as <li>
mapping services the web
Mapping Services & The Web
  • Web 2.0 provides valuable opportunity to provide mapping & location services:
    • Embedding Google maps on your Web sites
    • Developing rich services using this
    • Providing location metadata / microformats which can be processed by simple browser tools

Location Services

google maps mashups


More sophisticated mapping applications are being developed, such as Radius 5 at Northumbria Univ.

Google Maps Mashups


  • Google Map ‘mashup’ used for IWMW 2006 event:
    • ~ 20 lines of JavaScript.
    • Code taken from Google Maps Web site and coordinates added

Location Services

location metadata 1
Location Metadata (1)


  • Embedded location metadata can now by exploited by various 3rd party tools

Location Services

Note I shouldn’t do this, the organisation should be responsible for its own metadata (I’ve probably got the wrong building!)

  • How? Install Greasemap script & add:
  • <meta name="geo.position" content="55.944…, -3.187…" /> <meta name="geo.placename" content="Edinburgh University" />
location metadata 2


Location Metadata (2)
  • Same location metadata can be used by other applications.

Location Services

Note also Geo microformats – embed location inline in HTML text, which can be exploited by various tools

challenges opportunities
Challenges & Opportunities

What Next?

  • Challenges:
    • Accessibility (can be addressed)
    • Resourcing
    • Reliability, robustness, quality, trust, etc.
    • Will users use it? Do they want it?
  • Opportunities:
    • Significant benefits at low cost
    • Being (slightly) at the leading edge
    • Discussing & sharing best practices, coordination
    • Software development (EDINA, UK, … scripts, etc)

Key points: Much of this stuff can be easy to do, so let’s do it! Remember the benefits of scale (Metcalfe’s Law) that we (developers & our users) gain as more of us do this.


What Next?

  • Opportunity for general discussion

Note resources cited in the talk are bookmarked in del.icio.us using tag '‘edinburgh-2006-09"

Also note that briefing documents on various Web 2.0 issues (and other areas) are available on QA Focus Web site