The Scots Make A First in UK & Google

by Ray Matthews on January 26, 2004 at 01:06 PM

There is an unofficial feed for news generated by the Media Centre at 10 Downing Street. A number of syndicated feeds originate from the BBC, Guardian Unlimited, and the The Scotsman. Andy Powell and our mates at UKOLN have been aggregating UK news for years. The distinction, however, of being the first official UK government feed appears to go to the City of Aberdeen.

Aberdeen is the entertainment, leisure and cultural centre of North-east Scotland and the Aberdeen City Council's website is the premier one-stop destination to learn of local events and news. The city council created a RSS feed for its news releases in early September 2003.

Google News has been consuming the Aberdeen feed since late November listing the source as "Aberdeen City, UK." This appearance is significant because this may also be the first government created RSS feeds syndicated in Google News. This particular channel is content rich, well written, and is updated often. It just proves, as I've often said, "If you build it and have great content, they will come." Google has, indeed, noticed.

As more and more government news is syndicated we we hope to see greater Google News inclusion particularly of official government press releases. To get your own government's news listed in Google News, email an announcement about your feed to While Google doesn't guarantee to add all sources that are recommended, they will review all the suggestions they receive.

"As far as I am aware," reports Ian Watt, Website Technical Development Manager for the Aberdeen City Council, "we are the first UK Council, out of almost 500, to use RSS in this way and I think we are still the only ones doing so." Congratulations, Ian! The feed is archived and has a helpful background page explaining what RSS is and how the feed can be consumed.


Indeed, there is an unofficial feed for 10 Downing Street - there's also one for the Labour party, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats (this one is actually officially endorsed) and the Green Party (also endorsed) - all available at

The backend is currently a bit flaky, so I'm aiming to rewrite it next week...


Posted by: Etienne Pollard at January 27, 2004 02:17 AM

Coincidentally, I received an email this morning from Nick Browne of Coraider Services. In it he said, "Apart from yourselves the only other people I am aware of are Cleveland Police who have an RSS feed of Press Releases on their website." I have suggested to Nick that maybe someone needs to start a UK RSS blog - not that I want to steal your audience but there is no UK-specific resource at the moment.

Posted by: Ian Watt at January 27, 2004 09:13 AM

Sorry Ian, Aberdeen's not 'the first government syndicated news in the UK'. At National Statistics, we introduced an official RSS feed of our top stories in the summer (May? June? don't have the date handy), and yes - we're in Google News too. With user stats encouraging (well beyond my expectation of zero!), we're looking to expand our range of RSS services dramatically in the coming months.

Posted by: Simon Dickson at January 29, 2004 03:20 AM

The Improvement and Development Agency for local government have just released a RSS newsfeed:

It's really encouraging to see that there are other govt websites doing it - I was a bit worried it might just be us.

Andrew Travers
Internet Manager, IDeA

Posted by: Andrew Travers at February 11, 2004 07:29 AM