By Dick Hinkley, Director of eGov Services
In the Maine.gov upgrade on May 31, RSS service was offered to citizens for the first time by the State. RSS, also known as Really Simple Syndication, provides a tool by which people can easily locate news and other information from a variety of Web sources without having to visit each site and page individually.
In essence, an RSS feed reader gathers summaries and pointers to specific information that the user subscribes to, allowing a person to scan or skim all the updates in a singular view and only visit the ones desired. It can be a helpful time-saver, plus it often allows a person to more easily monitor updates which can otherwise be cumbersome. On the service provisioning side, RSS allows content providers to re-purpose and re-package existing and new content, permitting new thinking about how consumers can better receive and locate information.
Now that RSS is entering the mainstream of use, it’s a handy service to offer our Maine.gov customers. Also, it is likely that new uses for RSS will be found within State Government as we seek better ways to keep each other informed.
Maine.gov offers a good overview source about RSS, including suggested feed-readers, instructions for getting started and recognizing RSS services. If interested, and to view a list of RSS feeds currently available through Maine.gov, you can find that information at: http://www.maine.gov/portal/subscriptions/rss-help.html .
For those seeking more detail about providing RSS feeds to others, you may find useful another source of information which can be found at our Webmaster Resource Center: http://www.maine.gov/webmasters/resources/rss.htm .
Whether you become an RSS user yourself or, as a service provider to the public, you think of new ways to provide information from your agency, RSS is something that will be of value to many people – and maybe to you.