RSS/Atom endpoints for user profiles on OER hosting sites

Posted on April 20th, 2012 by Joss Winn

While Developers, Dale and Dave, are finishing off their third-year dissertations, I’ve been scouring potential OER services for user profile RSS and/or Atom endpoints. As Boone suggested in a recent comment, dealing with feeds can be a lot less hassle to maintain that writing a BuddyPress plugin that interacts at the API-level of multiple services.

Martin Hawksey at JISC CETIS provided this spreadsheet which pulls together information from PROD about the technologies that ukoer projects have identified they are using. There is also a useful summary of ‘ukoer sources‘. Taking the most popular 50 technologies in the PROD spreadsheet, I narrowed it down to the following ‘hosting’ platforms for OERs. Example URLs for user feeds are also given, where I could find them. It’s not always easy and I don’t have access to all platforms. If you can fill in the gaps, please leave a comment. I’ll update this post accordingly. Remember, I’m looking for feeds that record activity of individual users, ideally linking to resources they have uploaded to the/a hosting service.

Where are the user profile feeds?

  1. Moodle. Feed: ???
  2. YouTube. Feed: http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/base/users/user_id/uploads
  3. WordPress. Feed: http://joss.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/author/user_id/feed
  4. Slideshare. Feed: http://slideshare.net/rss/user/user_id
  5. Flickr. Feed: http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?id=user_id&lang=en-us&format=rss_200
  6. Xerte. Feed: ??? Does it include user profiles?
  7. Facebook. Feed: ???
  8. Blackboard. Feed: ???
  9. Drupal. Feed: ??? Possibly dependent on use.
  10. Sharepoint. Feed: ??? Not version 2003, which I was able to test.
  11. Confluence. Feed: None that I could find.
  12. Vimeo. Feed: http://vimeo.com/user_id/videos/rss
  13. Mahara. Feed: None.
  14. iTunesU. Feed: None.
  15. Google docs. Feed: None.
  16. EPrints. Feed: http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/cgi/search/advanced?screen=Public%3A%3AEPrintSearch&_action_search=Search&_fulltext__merge=ALL&_fulltext_=&title_merge=ALL&title=&documents.title_merge=ALL&documents.title=&creators_name_merge=ALL&creators_name=&creators_id_merge=ALL&creators_id=user_id&abstract_merge=ALL&abstract=&date=&documents.description_merge=ALL&documents.description=&keywords_merge=ALL&keywords=&subjects_merge=ALL&divisions_merge=ALL&editors_name_merge=ALL&editors_name=&refereed=EITHER&publication_merge=ALL&publication=&satisfyall=ALL&order=-date%2Fcreators_name%2Ftitle
  17. webCT. Feed: ???
  18. DSpace. Feed: https://www.dspace.university.ac.uk/open-search/?scope=/&rpp=10&sort_by=0&order=DESC&query=author:%22LASTNAME,%20FIRSTNAME%22&format=rss
  19. Pebblepad. Feed: ??
  20. Joomla. Feed: ??
  21. Cloudworks. Feed: http://cloudworks.ac.uk/event/user_rss/user_id
  22. OpenJorum. Feed: Jorum is a DSpace repository but doesn’t seem to use the URL syntax I’ve been given above for DSpace.
  23. Ning. Feed: http://ning_address.com/activity/log/list?fmt=rss&screenName=user_id

But are they really OER platforms?

Personally, I have two criteria for whether the platform is suitable for hosting OERs:

  1. Can other people discover your resource on the World Wide Web? If it’s on an Intranet or walled garden that blocks search engines, it’s not an OER. Discovery is not the same as download either. I think it can still be an OER if it is discoverable but you charge for download and it is appropriately licensed for re-use, modification and re-distribution. It’s not really in the spirit of openness, but as copyright owner, you could try charging for initial access to the resource. Good luck to you!
  2. Can the resource be openly licensed? For the resource to be an OER, it must have an open license (e.g. Creative Commons) that permits re-use, modification and re-distribution. The license can be embedded in the resource, (e.g. a PPT slide that has a CC license logo on the first slide), but a platform suited to hosting OERs should allow you to display a license next to the resource and, ideally, include that license in the metadata of the resource.

So based on those two criteria (discovery and licensing) , which hosting services/platforms are ‘OER services and platforms’?

My list is:

  1. YouTube
  2. WordPress*
  3. Slideshare
  4. Flickr*
  5. Vimeo*
  6. EPrints*
  7. Jorum/DSpace
  8. Joomla
  9. Drupal
  10. Cloudworks*
  11. Ning*

The asterisk refer to what I shall call ‘attractive feeds’. That is, easy to discover and contain links to resources which the user has uploaded to the hosting platform/service. These are the kinds of feeds we’re interested in for the bebop project.

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6 Responses to “RSS/Atom endpoints for user profiles on OER hosting sites”

  1. [...] counts from 10 different  social network services. So we can see a post by Xenith got 29 tweets, a post by bebop got 5 comments, [...]

  2. Profile photo of Joss Winn Joss Winn says:

    Here’s a useful survey of OER platforms from Phil Barker at CETIS: http://wiki.cetis.ac.uk/Distribution_platforms_for_UKOER_resources

  3. [...] (creating it’s own APIs so that it can be used on other platforms) – looks like the project is going down aggregating the RSS endpoint point route.Bebop Blog Ream more about Bebop on the JISC siteBreaking Down Barriers: Building a GeoKnowledge [...]

  4. [...] of user activity RSS feeds from 3rd party services –  Joss Winn has started documenting some endpoints as part of the Bebob projectwho is consuming CC licensed RSS feeds outside of education? – this question was prompted by James [...]

  5. Very useful list of RSS endpoints and also an indication of the difficulty of getting data out in this way.

    It’s interesting that flickr include item level CC licensing () in the feed and a great shame that few others appear to do this.

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