Originally published on July 12, 2017

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42nd in a series of 50 Knowledge Management Components (Slides 54–56 in KM 102)

Syndication and aggregation: using feeds available from a web site or other content source to provide an updated list of its content in the form of a subscription, an embedded portion of a web site, or a collection of disparate content on a particular topic

Syndication and aggregation typically use RSS or Atom syndication and .rss, .xml, or .rdf files for the feeds. Aggregation can also use open API and open data sources. (RSS stands for Really Simply Syndication or Rich Site Summary. XML stands for Extensible Markup Language. RDF stands for Resource Description Framework. API stands for Application Programming Interface.)

Syndication is a way of providing content such that it can be subscribed to using a feed reader, integrated into a web site as a subset of that site, or aggregated with similar content. Aggregation is a way of collecting multiple syndicated feeds into a single feed or as part of a unified web site.

You can use syndication and aggregation in a variety of ways. Blogs can be aggregated into a common site showing the latest entries from all blog sources. Subscriptions to blogs and podcasts can be offered. The latest updates made to a wiki can be provided as a feed. The ongoing results of predefined searches can be displayed. Threaded discussions can be tracked through a feed reader, and the latest posts can be displayed as news items on a community web site.

Syndicated content can be used in many ways, including being fed to standalone readers, embedded in web browsers or email clients, integrated with personalized aggregators like Netvibes or Feedly, and delivered as email messages using tools like Blogtrottr. It can also be aggregated on web sites, e.g., Topix for blogs.

A specific kind of aggregation is a mashup: a web application that uses content from more than one source to create a single new service displayed in a single graphical interface. For example, combining address data with Google map data. The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open API and data sources to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data.

Subscription management systems: tools that allow content providers to reach subscribers on an opt-in basis, and subscribers to sign up to receive periodicals and other communications based on their interests

In addition to RSS feeds for subscribing to syndicated content such as blogs and podcasts, there is still a need for allowing people to subscribe to traditional newsletters. Users do not appreciate receiving email they did not request, and if they continue to receive unwanted distributions, they will most likely delete them unread, or set mailbox rules to do so automatically.

To avoid having your newsletter regarded as spam, provide a tool which allows those who do wish to receive it to voluntarily subscribe. By automating this process, you can reduce the time spent manually adding and deleting names from a distribution list, automatically handle bounced messages, and quickly determine how many subscribers you have.

When a newsletter is first created, you can send out a one-time announcement to a broad distribution list of everyone in the organization offering a sample issue, inviting them to subscribe, and telling them how to do so easily. But after doing this once, avoid doing it again to avoid annoying the recipients. Provide prominent links to the subscription page from your key web sites. Include clear instructions in each issue on how to subscribe and unsubscribe. If an issue is forwarded from a current subscriber to a colleague, it should be obvious to that colleague how to subscribe. And if a subscriber decides they no longer want to receive your newsletter, don’t make it hard to unsubscribe.

In addition to the ability to subscribe to specific periodicals, you may wish to allow subscription to topics. In that way, if additional newsletters are created for an existing topic, they can be sent to those people who have already expressed an interest in the subject.

Other forms of subscription include notifications and alerts, provided via email, mobile notification, or online visual indicator. These can be used for enterprise social networks, threaded discussions, or new content updates for users of team spaces, portals, repositories, or intranets. Remind your users of all of these subscription options and help them to take advantage of each method for their specific needs.

Examples

1. Syndication — SharePoint

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2. Aggregation — HP Blogs

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3. Aggregation — HP WaterCooler (RSS feeds)

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4. Aggregation — Deloitte Market Research

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5. Aggregation — Mashup

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6. Subscription Management — HP

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Resources

  1. Feed 101
  2. What Everyone Should Know About RSS Feeds
  3. RSS Explained by Common Craft
  4. RSS Feeds by O’Reilly
  5. 6 RSS Aggregator Tools to Combine Multiple RSS Feeds by Elise Moreau
  6. How to Filter, Combine, and Customize RSS Feeds by Bryan Helmig
  7. Top 5 RSS Aggregator Plugins for WordPress by CreativeMinds
  8. How to Follow RSS Feeds in Chrome, Safari and Firefox
  9. Firefox: Live Bookmarks — Subscribe to a web page for news and updates
  10. Subscribe to an RSS Feed in Outlook 2016 and Outlook 2013
  11. Google Alerts
  12. Microsoft Office 365: Create an alert or subscribe to an RSS Feed
  13. Content Subscriptions and Feeds: An Overview of Tools Used for Knowledge Management by APQC
  14. RSS by David Gurteen
  15. Notification by Matt Moore
  16. Posts about RSS by Matt Moore
  17. The push/pull gap in Knowledge Transfer by Nick Milton
  18. The death of RSS? by Euan Semple
  19. RSS is about as dead as blogging by Euan Semple
  20. Posts about RSS by Luis Suarez

Books

  1. Books on RSS
  2. Books on XML
  3. Books on Mashups
  4. Practical RDF by Shelley Powers
  5. What Are Syndication Feeds by Shelley Powers

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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