Why would anyone create an OpenSearch provider or RSS feed and use the private or closed option? The very act of exposing the RSS or OpenSearch XML means you want people to search your site or consume your content. Private says: "You can search or view RSS headlines, but you can't view search results or read the full RSS content." Closed says "You can't search my site or view my RSS headlines." In other words, the RSS or OpenSearch XML shouldn't even exist. Can anyone think of an instance when either of those could have any point whatsoever?
RSS NewsMastering And The Permission To Re-use: A9 OpenSearch Leads The Way With SyndicationRight
Amazon has just announced is A9 OpenSearch initiative, a dream-come-true for RSS NewsMasters and one positive addition to the new RSS NewsMaster wiki I have just opened to support those experimenting and seeking the latest tools to create vertical news feeds.
Photo credit: Thomas Bush
But what as stroke me as most interesting is one little detail within the sample code of A9 OpenSearch. Something I have been waiting, asking and advocating for since some time.
How do we make sure the content we are gathering, ripping, mixing and syndicating is OK for reuse?
Here is an example of an OpenSearch Description document:
and here is the unique descriptor I didn't know until today:
SyndicationRight - The degree to which the search results provided by this search engine can be distributed.
Values: This element must contain one of the following values (case insensitive):
open - search results can be published or re-published without restriction. This is the default.
limited - search results can be published on the client site, but not further republished.
private - search feed may be queried, but the results may not be displayed at the client site.
closed - search feed should not be queried, and will disable the column for searches
Optional. If this element does not appear, the content will be considered =open=
This is a badly needed implementation of the RSS specification and one that could well integrate a declaration for the specific license adopted for the content (Public Domain, Creative Commons licenses, Full Copyright, etc.).
By integrating unambiguous information about the rights for the re-use of RSS based information we move one step forward in facilitating the enormous potential afforded by RSS and emerging aggregating/filtering technologies and skills.
Still, many issues remain to be solved, as there would be still be plenty of situations in which RSS is generated from sources that either have not declared authorization for re-use or haven't yet evaluated themselves with conscience the advantages and disadvantages (still can't find any that makes sense to me) of letting other sysndicate content headlines and introductory excerpts.
We need both greater awareness of the issue (talk about it) and new ideas and open ended tools like A9 OpenSearch.
I look forward to learn more about this and to see publishing tools, blog platforms, RSS feed creation tools gradually integrating this feature in their RSS output.
What do you think?