Monthly Archives: March 2013

Whither RSS Reading?

Are you distressed over the announced demise of Google’s Reader service? Are you a regular reader of RSS? What will you be doing come July 1?

I’m not personally directly affected by this change, since I use Vienna as a desktop reader and Pulse on my mobile devices. (I don’t do a lot of RSS reading on mobile, so it doesn’t matter to me that Pulse won’t bulk import my feed list from Vienna.) But by the same token, I am concerned about the future of RSS now that one of the major supporters of it has changed its mind. RSS is one of the high points of open standards online, highlighting what can be done with relatively simple programming. Without denigrating Aaron Swartz, the fact that the RSS 1.0 spec was partly authored by a 15-year-old (albeit a bright and creative 15-year-old) speaks to how elegant it is.

We’re not zealots about Open here at ITG, but it is something we like to choose. Our biggest example is the use on Yale Academic Commons of WordPress and WikiMedia. Both are open-source pieces of software that anyone can install on their own computer and change at will. Both are also open in that anyone can play around with making changes to the code and can even request that the changes get incorporated into the final product. Even without touching the code, there are ways to be involved with the production of these tools that have proven immensely valuable for education. You can review beta versions, contribute documentation, or just tell other people about your experiences with them.

If you would like to try something out, put in a request for a WordPress site or talk to us about wikis. If you want to go beyond what we host here at Yale, we’d love to talk to you about that, too.