Selective RSS

I haven’t been all that active here for the last few days. I’ve been spending most of my blogging bandwidth testing out the new and improved Blogs at Penn State tools powered by Movable Type 4. It has occupied really all of my blogging budget if you will. With that said I haven’t kept up with much external reading from my Google Reader space either … really just been in meetings, working on stuff, or walking halls talking shop with people. This time of the year the cycles get harder to come by as well … while things are winding down for most in education, this is one of the most compressed and craziest times of the year for me. It has me thinking a lot about where I spend my empty (if they exist) cycles and how to cram more into less. I’m not ready to bail on all of it, but I do need a little space to recharge.

For some reason I found myself at the University’s student newspaper site today, the Daily Collegian. I guess I went there to look at an article a colleague sent me and realized two things — the first is that the whole online paper is pwered by Movable Type and the second is that they have RSS. I figured I might as well add it to the reader … in Safari I clicked the little RSS badge in the URL location bar and got a very interesting contextual menu that gave me the option of subscribing to a number of feeds. If this is old news I am sorry, but I thought that was really a smart way to do things. I grabbed a quick screen shot of it. I wonder how this is done and if others are doing it?


As an update, I had seen my own RSS feed badge produce options before, but they were limited to the three different “brands” of XML my site produces … from early comments and emails it seems it is easy to make it work like the Collegian. My standard contextual menu gives me the following …


In a time when cycles are short, this is the kind of stuff that can help us all be more selective with what we want with much less effort. I just thought it was interesting. The other thing I really liked was the way that they go about describing what RSS is. At the end of the day only about 20% of our students report knowing what RSS is, so this is a nice touch.

8 thoughts on “Selective RSS

  1. Hey,

    I think its just four RSS tags in the HTML pointing to the various feeds. Or am I misunderstanding?

    I have seen a couple sites do this but can’t seem to find one… Oh, does it, but only has two feeds..

    Eric Aitala

  2. These folks are really on the ball! I just tried their site, too; they’re using google maps to display locations of recent local fires with stories linked to the location markers. Great stuff! I’ve never seen a cascade drop down from a location bar RSS link before- that’s a great feature. It looks like it just happens from listing multiple feeds in the document head. Neat! Thanks for this-

  3. The newer versions of web browsers will scan the page header for all rss feeds and return all of them in the address bar as a drop-down selector. Almost all browsers support this now and larger sites have started adding additional feed links in their html header.

  4. The way they do this is multiple “link” statements in the title. The behavior you’re seeing is the browser. Sage also does this. Interestingly, the Collegian didn’t have an RSS feed until ITS asked them to do it in 2000. A few years ago they went to the current feed lineup. The Digital Collegian certainly has come a long way.

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