February 14, 2003

News to come

In this site, we'll monitor creative uses of RSS to provide information to the public above government information and services.

Posted by Ray_Matthews at 04:58 PM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2003

Guidelines for Contributors

style guideThis short guide for contributors will help you determine what would be appropriate to post to what category and how to write stories in keeping with this newsletter's style and mission.

This newsletter is for news about how RSS (Rich Site Summary), weblogs and syndication technologies are being used by international, federal, state, and local governments.

This online news portal is managed by Ray Matthews of the Utah Government Information Locator Service with editorial contributions from colleagues in government throughout the world. Please acknowledge of the source of any quoted news story and make every attempt to link to the original publication source. Please observe and adhere to copyright and other intellectual property laws.

All opinions and viewpoints expressed are the personal opinions of the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinions of their employers or governments. No taxpayer money is used to fund its operation.

The news is public and is distributed worldwide to potentially thousands of readers via RSS feeds and email. Because it is distributed at the speed of light and is retrievable for all perpetuity using Internet search engines, care and discretion should be taken regarding content, spelling, grammar, and personal viewpoints.

Because it's better to have another set of eyeballs review submissions, your story will be first saved in draft mode. The managing editor will review your stories and publish them. An editor for each government will eventually be selected who will review and edit submissions for that government. These procedures are subject to revision and change.

How to Contribute
Just email the managing editor with a request to be added as the member of the editorial board for your government. Your username will be your "Firstname Lastname." In your message, tell us what password you want to use. We'll will write back and confirm your username and password. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to send suggestions or stories to any member of the editorial team.

Stories should be short and conform to good journalistic practices. For crafting well written stories see PRWeb's "Press Release Tips and Guidelines." The Economist Style Guide used at Economist.com is also a great and well-organized guide to consult. Active voice is preferred to passive. Third person personal pronouns common to newspaper stories are preferred over first person pronouns commonly found in blogs. You may want to first spell check submissions by cutting and pasting the content into a spell checker such as MS Word. Bartelby.com is a good source of reference sources for writers.

How to Use the Fields
Always write a short teaser of 50 words or a paragraph that both entices the reader and summarizes your story. Put this in the "Excerpt" field.

Your full article goes in the "Entry Body" field.

If you have a story of substance of two or more paragraphs, copy the teaser as the first paragraph in the "Entry Body" field and italicize it.

If you've written an original story with known geographic origins, begin the second paragraph with:

City, State (RSSGov.com)--

This second paragraph should answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your story. Your full story should be at least two paragraphs.

At the conclusion, you can create a "Read more" paragraph for the titles of other publications that have either related stories or the sources you used for your story. Format this paragraph in italics bracketed within font size="-2" tags. Separate these publication titles with | separators and provide hypertext links.

Put your cursor in the "Extended Entry" field and press the spacebar. This will automatically put a "read more" link to your story from the homepage.

Write a catchy and creative title. It must be informative so that someone reading the title using an aggregator or seeing it search engine results will know what the story is about. Keep its length fairly short... maybe 50 characters or so. Captialize all words except for short articles and prepositions: of, it, the, a, an, from, etc.

Select a primary category for each story. Because of your interests or governmental affiliation, you'll probably find that most of your stories will be filed to a single category. In some cases, your story will be appropriate for multiple categories. To do that, click the save button and then click on the link to "Assign Multiple Categories." Select the one or ones you want and save. Stories in each category are published to their own channel and email newsletter.

You may wish to add a thumbnail graphic. The thumbnail should convey meaning, be public domain, and as a general rule, be aligned left and be no larger than 100 pixels square. Other graphics such as screen shots and logos can be included as appropriate. Place graphics in the entry body rather than in the excerpt.

Yes, please do include links to other stories in this newsletter, to resources on governmental servers, and external blogs and publications. Use standard HTML tags. The easiest way to add a link is to highlight the text, click the "url" button, and paste the url in the popup window. Please do NOT put HTML tags in the title field. You can also do things like use bulleted lists and PRE content using standard HTML tagging.

Index (summary) feeds and full content feeds are provided in both RSS 1.0 and 2.0 formats. Any person or organization is permitted to publish or otherwise use the content of this publication on their site. Acknowledgements, links, and trackbacks are always appreciated.

Posted by Ray Matthews at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)