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Government RSS Feeds
Jamais Cascio, 22 Jun 04

One of the cooler bits of network tech is RSS ("really simple syndication" is probably the most common defintion; reader Frank Shearer notes in the comments that "'RSS' actually stands for 'RDF Site Summary'. 'RDF', in turn, stands for 'Resource Description Framework'"), which is a way of distributing updated site content to subscribers. For people who read a lot of websites over the course of the day, RSS is a life-saver. Most blogs (including WorldChanging) have RSS feeds, and an increasing number of news outlets do, too. But any website that publishes regularly updated information can provide an RSS feed. RSS in Government is a site dedicated to collecting and promoting the use of RSS feeds by government agencies, whether local, state, federal, or international. The main site page mixes general RSS and blogging news with specific updates on government-related RSS feeds.

It's early enough in the age of RSS that the use of syndication links by official groups is still quite haphazard. Some states that you'd think would be technologially on the ball (California, for example) have few if any feeds, while other locations are swimming in them. A couple of US Senators -- Joe Biden (D-Delaware) and George Allen (R-Virginia -- have RSS feeds for their press releases, perhaps of interest to their constituents. More people may find a use for the RSS feeds from the US Geological Survey earthquake reports; you can get a listing of the last day's or the last week's quakes measuring over 2.5.

I added that one to my RSS aggregator immediately.

(Note that the RSS in Government site displays oddly in Safari, but works fine in Firefox; your experience may vary.)

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Warning: full pedant mode activated!

While you use RSS to achieve Really Simple Syndication, "RSS" actually stands for "RDF Site Summary". "RDF", in turn, stands for "Resource Description Framework".

Posted by: Frank Shearar on 23 Jun 04

Nice site. Got here through Winds of Change.

The DoD is now using RSS for press releases and casualty reports, and Waxman (D-CA) uses RSS as well.

Posted by: praktike on 25 Jun 04



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