06 RSS Introduction

This class introduced the topic of RSS feeds, blogs, subscribing to RSS feeds, and the basics of searching for RSS feeds.

Updates to Course Wiki

  • Announcement Page now has all the recent Tweets through Tinker
  • Wiki will sometimes be down, plan accordingly!

Lecture: RSS Basics

  • Preview: RSS will change your life: It'll save tons of time by pulling info you're interested in all to one location and delivering it to you
    • Rapid growth of info + Lack of time + High demand for info = Headache!

RSS does the work for you! Helps you find information and sends it to you. YAY

What is RSS?

  • HTML Document: bunch of tags (e.g. <p> = paragraph), looks messy and unstructured
  • RSS is a text-based, XML-based standard (meta standard)
    • RSS is also a bunch of "tags", but it is more structured in its format (it is standard)
      • <item>, <title>, <link>, </description>, </description>, <pub0note>, </item>
    • The tags above are set / agreed upon. These tags are consistent across all RSS feeds.
  • RSS is an open, relatively mature standard developed fo rhte purpose of tracking site updates
    • Different standards out there for RSS Feeds:RSS 0.9, RSS 1., RSS 2., ATOM; pretty similar to each other

How do RSS Aggregators Work?

  1. Lots of servers connected to internet
  2. You are on a browser with a RSS account
  3. RSS aggregator has your RSS acct name and list of RSS feeds you are subscribed in
  4. Lots of docs in those servers that you are interested in reading
  5. Life before RSS: go (how ever frequently) to those websites to read what's new
  6. RSS aggregator gathers all those docs FOR you and delivered to one website to which you go to read updates

RSS Standard: having a common standard means lots of RSS Tools can be specially written to work with it. Site development Tools means all Web Sites can use RSS meaning you can get the info via RSS aggregators

Web based feed readers are needed to get you started

  • RSS reader focused tools (e.g. Blogline, Google Reader)
  • Portal type sites: bring info to site besides just RSS feeds (e.g. iGoogle)
  • Others

Searchable subject indices of RSS feeds (with browsing) helps you discover the most popular feeds

  • Searchable feed databases help you find the hidden gems that you need (e.g. Technorati, Blogpulse).

RSS tools give you a way to multiply your own efforts, save time, manage your attention, improves ability to find info,

Get started with Google Reader or bloglines.

Class Exercises

Searching for blogs using bloglines

  • I searched for the term [U.S. healthcare], and it returned 270,500 posts with Matching Feeds and Matching News to the right, with option to sort by relevance, date, or popularity
  • The different search options (posts, feeds, citations, the Web, or a specific URL) for when I have an idea of what I might want

Searching for blogs using several different blog search engines

I compared different tools to see what kind of information would be returned.

  • Google Blog Search
    • Offers "Related blogs", "Sorted by relevance" vs "Sorted by date" (It also has a published within the last xx amount of time period filter option to the left and a "browse top stories")
    • If I want more information or want to follow up, I can use:
      • Email alert
      • Blog search gadget
      • Blog search feed for Google Reader
      • Search Google News
  • Technorati
    • Can edit "authority" for searching (who determines authority?)
  • Blogpulse
    • Search for [iphone android] Trend
    • Can see time of increased activity of discussion and overall growth trend
  • Blogs.com
    • Search for [google android apple iphone].
      • The top few posts are in reverse chronological order (from most recent to earlier) although the "earliest" starts in August. There had to have been some discussion on the iphone within the last month!
  • IceRocket
    • Search for [obama healthcare]
    • "Results Trend" shows a date vs percentage of all blog post graph between 8/30 and 9/2 - It peaked around 9/7, 9/8
      • There were 450 posts a day, On average 0.077%, and total of 13,501 posts

See Professor's Notes

See Resources

  • Online feed readers, Top lists, RSS feed databases, searchable indices, keyword based feeds) available towards the bottom of the class page

Action Items:

  • Talk to professor about term project topic during OH! (MTW, 3:30-4:30)
  • Update the student list page after talking to professor
  • Add yourself to the Grade Database if you haven't already
  • Make Shared Items page on your wiki concerning term project
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