Taking RSS from Harvard - The RSS Blog
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Copyright 2003-5 Randy Charles Morin
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Thu, 23 Nov 2006 15:29:51 GMT
Taking RSS from Harvard

For those that don't know, Harvard Law School owns the RSS standard. But, there's actually nobody at Harvard that is actively maintaining the website that hosts the RSS specification or the spec for that matter. As such, it's out-dated and does not include the recent updates made by the RSS Advisory Board. Further, the website is more often than not non-responsive or really slow to respond. This makes it very hard on developers looking for help on RSS. As such, I'm asking my readers to update their RSS links to point to the latest RSS spec on the RSS Advisory Board website. This website is actively maintained by community giant Rogers Cadenhead and the website is very responsive. If you update your links and use the new link in your new posts, then maybe we change the Google juice and help developers get real help. Here's the link to the recent RSS spec.


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While I sympathize which the concerns about Harvard's RSS site - it *is* awfully slow, sometimes to the point of being useless - I do not support this attempt to hijack the RSS specification.

I wish that rather than doing things like this, the board would instead focus on simply making recommendations for feed consumers and producers.


This is not a hijacking. The RSS Advisory Board has been publishing the RSS 2.0 specification since 2003. The only substantive difference between what the board did under Dave Winer's leadership and what it does today is that we deliberate and vote in public.

Rogers Cadenhead
P.s. Thanks for calling me a "community giant." That would look sweet on a business card.

Forgot to "sign" my first comment - so I'll do it now.

Nick Bradbury

This is about helping developers, not hi-jacking. I sometimes wonder if Harvard even knows they are hosting that website.


I do understand that you're trying to help developers, and it is appreciated.  And I do agree that something needs to be done about the painfully slow, cobwebbed Harvard RSS site.

But you have to know that this action risks causing more disfunction and confusion in the RSS world, which is the last thing any of us need.

Nick Bradbury

In my experience, anything you do in RSS 2.0 is going to invite controversy. I think in the long run a patient and publicly accountable process will correct some of that dysfunction.

When I joined the board in 2004 and was asked to be the site's webmaster, I reached out to the Berkman Center to see whether they wanted to be in the loop on any of our actions on the site or with RSS 2.0. I never got a reply.

As related to me by John Palfrey earlier this year, Harvard's entire interest in RSS 2.0 has been the publication of the 2003 version of the spec under the Creative Commons license.

Rogers Cadenhead
You agree there's a problem. Please provide and move an alternative solution forward. Otherwise, the path is already paved.

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