Saturday, February 10, 2007

RSS aggregator as archive manager

I've got newfound respect for Google Reader as an RSS aggregator. I run a local news web site, which primarily means I'm concerned with two major things:
- how many stories appear on our homepage (our publishing load)
- how long the stories appear on our homepage (historical availability)

For purposes of remaining relevant and not being stale, most stories stay get primetime exposure for a half-day or so, and then are demoted to the lower-half for easy access, before they are essentially lost and have to be queried through date-specific search tools I've developed, or searched through search engines or Google News or other means. The same philosophy applies when publishing our data via RSS - everything is mirrored, of course, between our web-based and syndicated data, but the number of items that appear in the feed are those that have been published within a 24-hour cycle.

Now back to my point. I found today that after not checking my station's main RSS feed for a few weeks in Google Reader, that the app does a wonderful job of keeping past items cached and accessible. I was able to navigate backwards for an entire month, giving me instant access to more than 500 articles we've published. That's really cool.


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