There are a lot of ways RSS and Atom feeds can make a difference to your audience. For me it meant being able to take .gov.uk news releases and display them in Twitter. For others it makes life a little easier, enabling them to get the content they need so users can tell people what they think about consultation activity.
I find that being able to aggregate UK government feeds (when you can find them) is one of the more attractive aspects of being able to subscribe to content. I can take the content that is relevant to me and then read/watch/listen to what I want, when I want.
Aside from the fairly ridiculous situation of finding government sites without a feed, the other thing I’ve had some issues with is working out how to aggregate them.
Aggregating feeds the easy way
I’ve been playing around with RSS Mixer over the last couple of days and it looks like it could be a simple and easy to use tool for people that have little or no technical expertise. The process for aggregating feeds is much easier than services like Yahoo pipes or, the slightly complicated way I pulled things together for HM Gov news: Google reader and Twitterfeed.
I pulled together an example that aggregates several government youtube channels (if I’ve missed any, let me know). You can export the aggregated feed into a variety of formats and there’s also a Firefox extension to make collecting your feeds easier.
This isn’t rocket science, which is precisely why I like it. After all, whilst RSS/ATOM may still be an emerging idea for some parts of government, centralising content in one place isn’t.