For a while, I have wanted to get an aggregated feed from JISC Involve as a ‘source’ for the widget and a module on the social media page. JISC Involve is a WordPress blogging platform provided by JISC for the community and there are many active, popular blogs on it by JISC staff or people working for JISC projects and Services. I wanted to raise the profile of these blogs and the JISC Involve platform itself by surfacing some of the content on the JISC website.
It is fairly easy to set up a ‘multi-feed’ using the Site Wide Feed plugin of all posts from Involve but this wasn’t what we wanted. Involve is a blogging service open to anyone with an .ac.uk email address so there are a lot of blogs on there and a great many of them have nothing to do with JISC. We wanted to be able to aggegate specific blogs feeds.
So what we ended up doing was creating a feed aggregator with Yahoo Pipes that would allow us to generate an aggregated feed for selected JISC Involve blogs, where the blog post item links actually contained the name of the blog that the aggregated blog posts were coming from, and that we could then feed into the social media widget.
After trying to achieve this a couple of times (and failing!) Hector asked the JISC community (via Twitter) if anyone knew how to create a Yahoo Pipe that could do this, and he got some great responses from Steve Bonham from Netskills (Twitter, Blog) and from Tony Hirst from the OU (Blog, Twitter).
To get the ball rolling creating our own feed, Hector used the method Steve described and shared with his Yahoo Pipe and created our own Pipe modelled on Steve’s one.
This is working and is now providing a feed which not only has the aggregated blog post titles, but also contains the names of the blogs from which the posts are coming from.
Although this is working and providing the feed we wanted for the social media widget, we’re not sure it is the most efficient method considering how many blogs are currently aggregated (and how many more we will add to it time!), so we’re currently experimenting with the method Tony provided and seeing if this could work for us.