Wednesday, May 24, 2006

eLive 2006 RSS The Killer Application

eLive 2006 – RSS The Killer App
Will Richardson

More information on this, handouts etc. can be found on his wiki.

We are in a changed world and in a period of disruption at the moment. Every day new tools are coming out. Not only do we have access to a lot of information, but access to a lot of teachers and a lot of ideas. So how do we manage all these connections? RSS.

RSS = Real Simple Syndication. It is the syndication bit that is key. It is about the connections.It brings the content to you – pulling the information we want.

IMG_0001
01 Will Draws,
originally uploaded by DavidDMuir.
Two parts to it: Feed = new content; Aggregator = pulling it together to display. {Will did a cool instant drawing to demo this. He used the stylus on his tablet style laptop (the kind with the type screen that spins round and folds flat over the keyboard). He talked about the different types of information sources available - magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. - and how allof these flow into an aggregator. As he talked, he sketched. It was very cool!}

The point is that it is under your control. So many blogs – it RSS that makes it possible to keep track of all this stuff. …And it is essentially spam free because you subscribe to it – it’s not what someone wants to send to you. It’s about the conversations – distributed conversations which are almost impossible to track by other means.

How do you spot feeds? Look for buttons with RSS or XML – often orange. Or even go to Google and search for your favourite information source and RSS, for example “New York Times” RSS. Once you find the feed, copy the link location and use your aggregator.

Bloglines is the aggregator that Will uses. Bloglines lists the feeds you have subscribed to and gives all sorts of information about the feeds, for example how many are unread, how many you have saved, and when you click on a link – it tells you who else has referenced that post. You can also chunk the feeds into related categories – for example Will has classroom stuff in one category and people he learns from in another. Here is Will’s public feeds from Bloglines which {I think} shows his teachers – the people he learns stuff from.

RSS as Research round the clock. You can also track what people are saying about you or your site with RSS because you can create search feeds. In Google you can search for a specific area of interest and then subscribe to just the results of that search. For example Global Warming from the BBC. If you look on the results page , there is a link to an RSS feed.

You can do the same thing in Technorati to search blogs. For example teen obesity in blogs. When displaying the results, Technorati, it tells you information about how many links and from how many sites go to that blog to give an indication of its value. Make the search results a watchlist in Technorati and then subscribe to the RSS feed. Search feeds means RSS is therefore around the clock research.

RSS as Read What I Read – e.g. RSS feed of del.icio.us or Furl. Not just reading what other write in their blogs etc. but also read what they read! For example, here is my del.icio.us links about Flickr and here is its RSS feed. This means the people you subscribe to are feeding you interesting stuff – doing research stuff for you. Furl is similar, but it also saves a picture of the page – so even if the page changes or disappears, you can access the Furl saved version. Even better, Furl will export the bookmark in APA bibliographic reference format. {Cool!}

RSS as Read What Others See – RSS feeds of Flikr photos. For example, search for eLive2006 on Flickr or Somalia and subscribe the search feed.

RSS as Web Pages – You can also take an RSS feed and fold it into a web page or a blog page. Pull stuff in and highlight it without having to re-write the page – an automatically updating web page. {See for example, John Johnston's RSS experiment. - DM}

RSS for Podcasts – It is the RSS feed that does the cast bit of Podcasts. So you can subscribe to the podcast – do it once and whenever something new comes you will be told.

SO there is RSS for weather, ebay, package tracking, flight information, …


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2 comments:

Isidora said...

Thank you David! Clear and really usefull, so I get even this part of Will's presentation that I've lost travelling back home from eLive. Anyway, thank you even for the good and really interesting time at the conference and ...for the pictures! Ciao :-)

David said...

Hello Isidora

It was good to meet you and I'm glad you found my hurriedly typed notes useful and that you are enjoying the pictures.