What is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is just a specially formatted web file containing headlines, dates and links to web pages which can be read by a number of email clients, such as Mozilla Thunderbird, and which can also be integrated into your own web site using Zenark's RSS News Feed software.
Adding articles to the Zenark News Feed:
The mechanism for adding stories is completely integrated into Electric Search so that you can add stories to the feed as you browse your results. To get started go to the Electric Search web site and log in as normal (see the Logging into Electric Search section of this web site for more details). Once logged in click on a Saved Search in the Searches side panel to open a search as shown as (1) below.
The Main Search Results panel will now have two additional fields. It has the XML button (2) which links to the RSS management page and the Add to Feed / Remove from Feed link (3) beside each story which allows you to add and remove articles from the feed.
When you see a story that you would like to appear on your feed click Add to Feed (3) for that story and it will be added and this link will change to Remove from Feed. Clicking this removes the story from the feed again.
You can continue to do this, choosing stories from any Saved Search on your side bar. Note that these choices are similar to an online Shopping Cart. The chosen stories will not appear in your feed until you Publish them as described below.
Once you have enough stories in your feed click the XML button (2 above) to open the RSS management screen which allows you to examine the feed contents and Publish it to the web.
The RSS Management screen:
The RSS Management screen shows the current and new content of your RSS feed and allows you to reorder and remove stories before you Publish it to the web. The areas of interest are:
The Feed Header
The header of this screen (labeled 1 above) displays a lot of information about the current status of your feed:
- It tells you how many stories are currently in the feed (10 in the example above). How many are already published (9) and how many have just been chosen and are Pending (1). Only Published stories appear on the web. Pending stories are discarded when you leave Electric Search unless you publish them;
- It shows the last time stories were Last Published On. This is the time the stories were saved onto the web;
- The Web Address (URL) for your feed. This is the web location your stories are published to. This is the URL you point your RSS Reader software at.
The Publish and Clear buttons
Once you have decided the Feed is ready to be updated use the Publish and Clear buttons (labeled 2 above) to save them to the online RSS web file. The Published / Pending header and the Last Published On header will update to show that all stories are now Published (0 Pending) with the current date and time (according to the Electric Search system clock).
The Clear button allows you to wipe the list clean. Many users find this feature useful at the start of a day or week to remove the "stale" stories in preparation for adding up-to-date stories to the feed. Note that clearing does not affect the published feed until you click Publish. This is additional step is used as a measure to guard against the case you clear your stories by accident. If this occurs you can close your browser, reopen it and log back into Electric Search to see the Published stories once more.
The Story functions
Each story has a number of information fields (labeled 3 above)and some actions which can be carried out. The Title and Abstract are shown as normal. The name of the Publication the story comes from is also shown and beside it is the Feed Status for that article. If it is already in your online feed it is shown as (Published). If it is a Pending item awaiting Publication it is shown as (New Item).
There are also three actions you can carry out on an Article here:
- The Up button allows you to move the story up the list of feed stories towards the top. By default items added to the feed appear at the bottom of the list. The Down button allows you to move it back down the list;
- The red Remove link removes the story from the feed;
- As previously stated none of these changes apply until Publish is clicked.