Creating an aggregator for our partners uploads
As part of our bid for the UK OER project we put forward the idea of an aggregator. We have kept all of our materials and discussions about the project on our WordPress blog. This is where we also wanted to host the aggregator so we could easily see all the materials uploaded by our partners.
I have been looking into a number of systems we could use to create an aggregator page on our WordPress blog. After some simple research it looked like the best option would be to have an RSS feed reader within WordPress.
I began by looking at a way of incorporating an RSS reader into our WordPress blog. After a quick search on the internet I found a simple solution which used two WordPress plugins. The first is the Exec-PHP plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/exec-php/). This allows for PHP code to be executed within pages and posts when using the HTML editor within WordPress. To display the RSS feed I used the GetRSS plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/getrss/). This was the simplest plugin to use that required a single line of code on a page to display an RSS feed.
The next step was to create an RSS feed of the materials that have been uploaded into Open Jorum. I looked at a few websites that created RSS feeds from websites automatically. Some of these picked up the links and some didn’t. All of the sites didn’t create clean RSS feeds though. This meant that we had incomplete links on the WordPress site.
I then discovered a website called http://www.feedmarklet.com. This website allows you to create RSS feeds for free but requires you to add the items individually. It worked well within WordPress but could be quite time consuming as the project moved on.
After looking at the Bioscience OER blog (http://biooer.jiscinvolve.org/2009/12/03/aggregating-blog-outputs-using-yahoopipes/) I decided to look into using Yahoo pipes to create our RSS feed. After some time to get to grips with it I found the system to work rather well. I had a rather large problem with the Jorum Open RSS feed. The feed didn’t show the keywords metadata so I couldn’t search for the GEESOER keyword that we have asked our partners to use. For the time being we have added the GEESOER tag to the end of the description. This allows me to display all of the Gees uploads whilst discarding all the others within the community on Jorum Open.
Yahoo pipes looks like it will be the best solution for what we need and this will be going live on the site next week. Ideally it would have worked without having to add the keyword in the description. This could change as Jorum evolves which could then make this an even better option in the future.