Okay, so this post is probably better named "Scholar Tip #1" since I have never posted any Scholar tips before. But there are way more than 272 of them. I just gotta find the time to write them all up! Anyway . . .
Tip #272: Just about every view in Scholar is available through RSS?
If you’re reading blogs, RSS probably isn’t a new concept to you. If you need an RSS refresher, though, check out this fun intro video called RSS in Plain English to get up to speed, and then peruse some of the other RSS resources bookmarked in Scholar.
When you’re looking at any set of bookmarks in Scholar — like, say, the bookmarks of Greg Ritter or a search for all bookmarks tagged mashup — you’ll notice a funky little orange icon in the title bar of the view. It looks like this:
That’s the standard icon for an RSS feed. Yeah, orange is the standard color. Doesn’t really go well with that green background, does it? Makes me think of certain teams, when my loyalties lie elsewhere. Note to self: have the UI designer change the color from green to maroon.
What you see when you click on an RSS icon depends on what browser you’re using. If you’re using a contemporary browser, like Firefox 2, Safari 2, or Internet Explorer 7 you’ll see basically the same content, nicely formatted. If you’re using an older browser, you might just see the raw XML. In any event, the RSS feed is the content from that page formatted in a standard way that other websites or tools can deal with.
So why do you care? Because having Scholar views available as RSS feeds means that you can use the URL for that feed to include content from Scholar is lots of other places. Let’s look at a few examples.
Since I spend most of my day with a browser open in front of me, I like to keep new info a single click away. Firefox lets you add an RSS feed to your toolbar as a "Live Bookmark."
I have two Scholar feeds set up in my browser: one for all Scholar bookmarks assigned the Discipline of "Instructional Technology", and one for all bookmarks tagged "Bb" or "Blackboard." These help me stay up to date on cool ed tech resources and stuff people are bookmarking about the company, respectively.
If your browser homepage is something like iGoogle or My Yahoo, you can pull content from Scholar into those pages as well. Here’s what the feed of the most recent Scholar bookmarks looks like on my Google homepage:
You can also use the RSS feeds to mash-up Scholar content with content from other services. For example, this Educate/Innovate blog runs on the Typepad blog service, which has a feature to allow you to add feeds to the blog’s sidebar.
If you’ll check out the left sidebar on Educate/Innovate, you’ll see that there are now feeds for all Scholar bookmarks tagged "BbWorld07" and all Scholar bookmarks tagged "Blackboard." As new bookmarks in Scholar are added with those tags, they’ll appear here on Educate/Innovate.
So where do you want to put Scholar content today?