[Web4lib] RSS question

Jonathan Gorman jtgorman at uiuc.edu
Fri Feb 10 14:15:46 EST 2006

>From what a quick glance and quick test at the first RSS validator to come 
up in google it looks good.

Some quick observations on the rss feed from th etop of my head:

There's no guid.  It's optional, but some readers might need it. I 
wouldn't be surprised.  Also the feed reader might get confused since all 
the items were published at once and point to the same link.  I've also 
discovered some readers like particular extensions to RSS that are poorly 
documented (or the documentation disappeared several years ago) or certain 
headers to be returned.

> However, I use a program called SharpReader to read my feeds and when I
> look at the library's feed, for some reason each entry links to every
> other entry. There's a little plus sign to expand on the left of the
> item. The linking is thoroughly cross linked to all other entries (with
> each sub-link again linking to the other titles)

Might be because it's all the same link.  Not sure.  To test that try 
having different links on the items.  (Ie 
http://www.fresnolibrary.org/stffpcks/page1.html, etc).

>And it doesn't seem to be a
> problem with my reader, since none of my other 20+ feeds do that.)

I wouldn't count on it.  Typically when a developer complains that their 
document or code is fine and the program/compiler must be broken I'm 
highly skeptical.  On the other hand, when it comes to RSS I've seen some 
odd behavior from reader/aggregator programs. Some programs/aggregators 
seem to want common but undocumented extensions, optional elements, behave 
rotten with respects to the feed.  Perhaps part of the issue I haven't yet 
shelled out any money for a reader.  (In part because it seems like 
something I could whip together if I really, really wanted to.)

I'd probably try this first.  Second add a guid as per the specs.  Third 
look into the extensions, and fourth check out headers.  I'm skeptical 
that the last two would be issues in this case.  They do seem to come into 
play more with readers fetching the feed, but not actually parsing it.

Jonathan T. Gorman
Visiting Research Information Specialist
University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana
216 Main Library - MC522
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 244-4688

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