Wednesday, March 2, 2005

RSS Progresses into STM Publishing via Elsevier's Engineering Village 2: Push Was Always Good

Feedback from Elsevier on Shore affiliate Russell Perkins' recent weblog entry on the increasing use of RSS in B2B publishing highlighted their use of RSS in their Engineering Village 2 portal to deliver streams of updates to clients for search queries. An EV2 user can form a query for documents and from the search results order up an RSS stream to push down summaries of new documents posted to EV2 that fit the query's specs. Elsevier claims that EV2 is "the first subscription based engineering A&I platform [that] provides RSS feeds." I'll take that last part with a grain of salt, but this is clearly a good example of how publishers are using RSS to publish database update streams to their clients in an easily repackaged form. Publishers can't be too pushy with the volumes of content shoved down to individual users via feeds - pushing the limits of user and network technologies in the process. Alerts capabilities such as the RSS alerts feature of EV2 are representative of the more selective update process that is powering many content push applications today. When clients have the ability to receive just the content that they want on a sprinkled basis rather than a full firehose you've created a more personal relationship that will keep them coming back for more pampering. Relatively lightweight technologies such as RSS allow personalized streams of content to be delivered to the right users at the right time with a minimum of fuss and overhead in a convenient XML wrapper. That point-to-point delivery of content value can be just the thing to cement client relationships at the desktop level.
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