The Canadian Government Adopts RSS

If you’re reading this weblog, then you’re probably familiar with RSS. If you’re not, here’s a couple of paragraphs that I recently wrote about it:

RSS is an XML standard for describing headlines and summary content from a news source, most typically a Web site. It is an acronym for RDF (resource description format) site summary, rich site summary or, most descriptively, really simple syndication.

RSS is typically published in channels (sometimes called feeds), which are analogous to television channels. That is, each RSS channel is dedicated to a particular company or area of interest. For the average company, their RSS channel represents their public relations activity, including press releases, product announcements, upcoming events, and so on. These RSS channels are most often read by users using software called news aggregators. Similar to simple email clients or Usenet news readers, these aggregators enable users to review many channels quickly.

I’m pleased to see that the Canadian government, like New Zealand, has adopted RSS as a standard for distributing information. They have many feeds, including those for national news, provincial news and for various groups, such as veterans or travellers. Few of the feeds have a lot of information in them yet, but I applaud this rare example of innovation from our federal government.

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