Suggestion: Enhancing the OAC through anthro-relevant news feed aggregation

A recent suggestion by Philip Pocock: "i would suggest right off the top your directorial team define a set of anthropology terms - topics and institutes - and site designer/programmer build a news feed aggregator, perhaps a navigation colulm tag cloud of these anthropological news feed to both increase visilibity for oac and add content automatically".

Some feed aggregation on the OAC front page could help to enhance the diversity of external materials reaching the site. Alternatively, mixing up OAC content with an easy to distribute RSS feed can also extend the reach of our own content.

There are technical implications to adding many feeds to the front page, but it is well worth considering and a relatively easy fix. My questions for everyone are: What are you interested in reading and from which sources? What content should we aggregate? In what ways can this help to increase the visibility of the OAC?

See also: A previous discussion about mixing and combining feeds and keeping up with OAC content that may be relevant here (with links to helpful tools).

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I would also like to thank Philip for his further input:

"it is key that the OAC web designer/programmer joins in. online there is no barrier between content and form (computer scripting). i have to look into the plug-ins that ning offers. your own server is actually best. probably wordpress the easiest software to run for participation and growth, even allowing greener iphone users to upload and read/view...."

The OAC admin team jointly deals with the web development of the site as well as integrating other initiatives into the main Ning page. Ning offers some third-party plug-ins and apps, but I have not found many of them that exciting or easy to effectively integrate into the site as a whole.

We can, of course, add RSS feeds to the home page, and these can be combined into one feed that mixes several together, such as anthro blog posts, recent news from the AAA, and publications to major journals, for instance. If that's of interest to anyone, please share which feeds you'd like to see included.

The Ning platform is where most member activity takes place, but we also have other initiatives hosted elsewhere: a wiki for archiving and Wordpress-based site for the OAC Press. There is only a small amount of integration available between Ning as our main site and WP as a content host, so the admin team is always thinking of ways to better integrate third-party content into Ning itself. We've explored using WP to create a homepage for the OAC, but, thus far, the Ning site naturally makes the most effective homepage because we have all come to know it as our primary portal to all OAC content and member interaction.

If the OAC as a community could create a site (WP or otherwise) for feed aggregation across the anthro web, now that I think about it, I can see that would be immensely useful.

Lastly, there is also a mobile Ning interface (http://openanthcoop.ning.com/m)
(Reposted)
Reply by Charles Kirke 1 hour ago:

I am all in favour of viewing current news through the insights of anthropology - but I suggesr that if we attempt this it should be a practical application that is open and as free of jargon as possible. As a soldier (I have retired but I still feel like one - there is anthropology in that!) I have been encouraged to prefer clarity in communication over obscurity. The British media treatment of MPs' expenses claims might be a possible place to start. What conventions does it reveal about 'keeping to the rules' in Parliament? What were the moral grounds on which this became seen as a serious issue? How much money was really involved in claims that were subequently declared 'wrong' [I think it was about £300,000 over five years]? Given that the financial loss to the UK Government was tiny, why were the moral issues treated as so important? Who defined them?
I personally find the definition of formal and informal rules a never-ending fascination - so if anybody else wants to join in...

Charles
There's something like this over at Anthropology Blog Newspaper, which does include an RSS feed from the OAC.

Francine Barone said:
I would also like to thank Philip for his further input:

"it is key that the OAC web designer/programmer joins in. online there is no barrier between content and form (computer scripting). i have to look into the plug-ins that ning offers. your own server is actually best. probably wordpress the easiest software to run for participation and growth, even allowing greener iphone users to upload and read/view...."

The OAC admin team jointly deals with the web development of the site as well as integrating other initiatives into the main Ning page. Ning offers some third-party plug-ins and apps, but I have not found many of them that exciting or easy to effectively integrate into the site as a whole.

We can, of course, add RSS feeds to the home page, and these can be combined into one feed that mixes several together, such as anthro blog posts, recent news from the AAA, and publications to major journals, for instance. If that's of interest to anyone, please share which feeds you'd like to see included.

The Ning platform is where most member activity takes place, but we also have other initiatives hosted elsewhere: a wiki for archiving and Wordpress-based site for the OAC Press. There is only a small amount of integration available between Ning as our main site and WP as a content host, so the admin team is always thinking of ways to better integrate third-party content into Ning itself. We've explored using WP to create a homepage for the OAC, but, thus far, the Ning site naturally makes the most effective homepage because we have all come to know it as our primary portal to all OAC content and member interaction.

If the OAC as a community could create a site (WP or otherwise) for feed aggregation across the anthro web, now that I think about it, I can see that would be immensely useful.

Lastly, there is also a mobile Ning interface (http://openanthcoop.ning.com/m)
Thanks, Justin.

Yes, that's a good resource for a comprehensive look at the anthro blogosphere, similar to Alltop and pages on Netvibes, Individurls, etc. I like Alltop because the general news feeds at the top include some more accessible (and often unexpected) items together with my favorite blogs at a glance. As Charles suggests, a mix of popular news and academic sources could enrich discussion by doing away with some of the jargon while providing more substantial real world issues to discuss. On one of my blogs, I also have an anthro feed mix that includes CiteULike, Digg and delicious items tagged with anthropology. Unfortunately, the user-tagging of social bookmarks makes it susceptible to strange off-topic additions ...
Perhaps updates on publications in major anthropology journals, plus public domain discussions on anthropology (something like a Google blog alert)
I would find it useful if custom feeds could be added to individual groups (example at FriendFeed) or even user profiles (example at ways.org). Feeds that may be of general interest include things like http://hubmed.macropus.org/feeds/rss.cgi?q=anthropology[tiab]%20rev..., while more specific ones like http://hubmed.macropus.org/feeds/rss.cgi?q=%22Central%20Asia%22[tiab] may be more useful for an individual group (in this case http://openanthcoop.ning.com/group/anthropologyincentralasia ).

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