Trying To Get The Hang Of OPML

There’s been a flurry of activity recently about using OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) editors to create what’s referred to as a “reading list.” Steven Cohen’s posts about reading lists this week reminded me that I had first heard about this in San Antonio at a RUSA program on RSS and library blogging. I had the good fortune to be speaking on the same panel as Chad Fennell from the University of Minnesota Library where they are doing lots of interesting work with blogging technology. I then saw that Stephen Downes was doing some work with OPML and reading lists – and he even created his own list generator. Downes describes the reading list as “An OPML file is a way for you to list the blogs or websites that you read regularly.” The reading list makes it easy to give a colleage a file that he or she can import into their aggregator (it works well with Bloglines) in order to quickly subscribe to a good list of blogs. Chad recommended a site with more information a video tutorial. Then StevenC pointed to Ellyssa Kroski who also had some useful information to offer.

That enabled me to begin experimenting with using the OPML Editor and Downes’ OPML Generator to create a reading list. My initial experiments worked reasonably well, but I’ve yet to achieve the level of proficiency I’d like. More practice is in order. My first project is to create a good reading list of resources for keeping up with higher education news. I hope to be able to share that sometime soon. What did I learn from all this. If you want to try building a new skill there is usually plenty of information and advice being offered in the blogosphere. You could wait for a workshop to come to your town, or you may wish to figure out on your own with some experimentation and practice. Either way, it’s always a good idea to keep up with these new technologies and their possibilities.

2 thoughts on “Trying To Get The Hang Of OPML”

  1. For the prototype program we are doing with ALA, we are using Blogbridge to build and manage reading lists. Blogbridge is a desktop aggregator that allows you to set up a “guide” or collection of RSS feeds and publish this collection in the form of an OPML URL that is hosted on Blogbridge’s servers. Then others can subscribe to the list by adding the OPML URL to their aggregators. The big advantage of doing this in Blogbridge is that when the author of the list makes a change, that change is propagated to anyone who has subscribed to the list. So far it is the best solution I am aware of, which is why I’ve recommended it to ALA.

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