How to build a RSS aggregator?


The blog-network osbn.de was mentioned in a previous blog post. It’s a german webring which contains of 154 subblogs which are aggregated under a single site. The concept itself is not clearly defined in the literature: i would call it a combination of a webring, a RSS aggregator and a reddit like page. From a technical perspective the idea is to combine single RSS streams into a larger stream and from a content perspective it’s about forming a virtual community in which individual blogs are a part of it.

Let us take a look into reddit and similar websites. The idea is not to provide a blog or a forum, but to aggregate existing information. The same concept is visible for osbn.de. It’s not allowed to post something on the website, but the website contains in it’s rss feed only links to existing content which is located in the subblogs. From a critics perspective this is equal to a link farm, what makes it different is, that the subblogs are created by different users and that they have submitted their blog with a certain idea to the syndication site. They are not interested to be separate but like to form a more powerful structure.

I’m not sure if it’s possible to transfer this concept to the domain of Artificial Intelligence. The reddit AI group is well known, but it doesn’t contains links to blogs but to mainstream website. In general we can say, that a news aggregator contains links which are referencing to uptodate content created in the last week. Is this concept interesting for readers? I would guess, the answer is yes. Many times the readers have asked in AI Groups, which AI blog is great. Sure, i can recommend my own blog, but this is not what the reader has asked for. What the readers would like to subscribe is a content aggregation, which provides not content but only links to other blogs. Let us formalize the idea a bit: A blog aggregator contains of uptodate news from different websites found in the internet. Some old-school bloggers would call this concept blogging, but in general the term blogging means something different. A blog is a source of information, for example somebody has tried out to install a new software and creates an article about this attempt. This is a classical blog. In contrast, a blog aggregation is if third person is linking to this tutorial and acts as a frontpage of a certain community.

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