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RSS Aggregators as Archivers?

April 29th, 2003 · No Comments

Paolo Valdemarin has a discussion on RSS Aggregators and suggests using them as archivers, and not just as instant readers.

If an aggregator is meant as a way to take a snapshot of what’s going on on hundreds of sources and quicky present it to us, I believe that presenting news in reverse chronological order is the way to go.

But I also think that aggregators could be an interesting way to archive content, to let somebody quickly retireve something wrote sometime in the past.

Archiving by author, again, does not make sense: most weblogging applications already do that, if I’m looking for something and I know who wrote it, I can simply look on the author’s site.

There are search engines, which are of course a good way to find information, but not always very efficient. There are cases when a directory might be more useful.

We believe that archiving by topic in a directory could be a solution, and this is what we are trying to do. It’s not for daily instant reading, it’s to archive content.

I feel that RSS readers should stick to providing the viewing capability. What is needed for archiving articles of relevance is a personal blogging tool, to which items can be posted with a drag-and-drop capability. I’ll discuss this in greater detail when I talk about how to construct the Memex.

In a different but related context, Infoworld describes about how RSS could be used to counter spam:

When aggregators become widespread, many b-to-c newsletters will switch to RSS and drop now highly unreliable e-mail. I wrote three months ago that ISPs such as Hotmail and Yahoo, trying to stop spam, shunt to a junk folder or simply delete 25 percent of newsletters requested by subscribers.

The spam tsunami is forcing many e-mail recipients to build “whitelists,” accepting messages without question only from approved senders. Interestingly, RSS subscriptions work exactly like whitelists. By design, spammers have no way to push their material into anyone’s RSS reader.


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