November 25, 2004

Irish Local Governments Get Nooked

Two Irish County Councils and several other Irish, Northern Ireland, and UK government agencies are publishing press releases using the new Nooked hosted online RSS publishing service.

Aimed at enterprise users who want to quickly and easily syndicate their news, the Nooked online Newsroom, a wizard–based user interface, provides several public relations templates for the creation, editing, publishing, and validation of feeds.

While the cost of "less than $5 per day" may be steep compared to free services such as Ice Rocket's RSS Builder, Nooked does offer clients measurable user statistics. The company provides real time statistics about who is monitoring the channel, how often they are reading news stories, and if readers click through to the website. For more information about the product see the Nooked Guide.

The real oddity in their list of customers is Six Apart France, a subsidiary of the company that develops Movable Type and TypePad. Governmental customers include:

Posted by Ray Matthews on November 25, 2004 at 11:09 PM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!

January 27, 2004

Lost Something? RSS to the Rescue

How many counties, cities, police departments, transportation systems, animal shelters, recreational outlets, and libraries operate lost and found services? Probably too many to count. No doubt many of these never connect lost property to the original owners. The process of auctioning unclaimed property is also imperfect. It can be both expensive to conduct and ineffectual in reaching a wide audience of potential buyers. What if there was an eBay auction service for lost and founds?

Coraider Services Limited may have the answer. They operate the Virtual Bumblebee lost and found property system jointly with the Surrey [UK] Police. At this writing, the system has logged a rapidly growing 31,749 lost and 1,322 found items and animals submitted by 15 participating organizations.

They also run a property disposal site for the Police constabularies for auctioning unclaimed property which, according to Coraider's Nick Browne, "we have recently updated with RSS feeds." Browne recently did a a presentation on RSS for the Director of Technology of the Metropolitan Police to show them the power of RSS in reaching potential buyers.

Take a look at what they've done. Lost property is entered into an asp driven database which is searchable by keyword, police department, and other criteria. The system then generates dynamic RSS feeds for those items that meet the search criteria.

Today Surrey, Sussex, Devon & Cornwall, Northhamptonshire, Wiltshire....tomorrow the world?

Sample Feed:

Posted by Ray Matthews on January 27, 2004 at 09:19 AM | | Comments (0) | Send this story to a friend!

January 26, 2004

The Scots Make A First in UK & Google

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.

Posted by Ray Matthews on January 26, 2004 at 01:06 PM | | Comments (4) | Send this story to a friend!