Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Corporate Newsmastering And OPML Reading Lists: The BlogBridge RSS Feed Library - Video Review

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For corporate newsmasters OPML reading lists are an excellent way of gathering and custom-distributing thematic collections of RSS Feeds within the organization.

By being able to effectively aggregate, organize, label, and provide selected access to thematic RSS feeds collections, corporate digital information librarians are now given true power to provide highly customized and tailored information feeds to their key stakeholders.

Not only.

Such capabilities provide also the means to create multiple definitive source of RSS feeds on a given topic, be it the latest communication software or just a hand picked selection on the best news sources out there. Such features support the use of a RSS feed library also and well beyond the walls of internal communications, research and intelligence to the ability to serve and distribute high-value content feeds collection on any designated theme to the public at large or to paying audiences.

What RSS does for websites, OPML does for RSS feeds. Which is to say that it gives end-users the capacity to subscribe, with a single click, to constantly updated information sources and access them from a single place, such as an RSS aggregator.

Increasingly, information professionals across a number of industries and sectors are making use of RSS feeds to pass along the latest information to their clients and end-users. These curators of information can make use of OPML to quickly and effectively import and export vast selections of feeds, organized into headings and subheadings, making the task of sharing a much less daunting one.

BlogBridge, whose powerful RSS reader / aggregator runs on Mac, Windows and Linux, has developed a solution for these information professionals: The BlogBridge Feed Library.

The BlogBridge Library is a powerful but surprisingly intuitive way to create vast, well organized libraries of feeds for a range of applications. This simple, easy-to-use platform could be of great use to librarians and PR professionals alike, not to mention those working in independent publishing and the blogosphere.

In this video review I walk you through the interface, along with the simple process of putting together your own library of RSS feeds using OPML reading lists.

BlogBridge Library - Video Review

In this video review I take a look at how you can:

  • Find your way around BlogBridge Library's main interface
  • Export and Import OPML reading lists to and from your library to add and share content
  • Search your library through a range of criteria, or via a tag cloud
  • Customize your library in terms of its users and the micro-organizations into which you can group them

BlogBridge Library - Purpose

As more and more organizations turn to RSS as a great way to gather up-to-the-minute, sometimes mission critical data from around the web there is an increasing need for a simple means to organize these feeds.

As it is possible to create a feed from any website, it has never been more important to find a way to aggregate, organize and recommend reliable sources of this information to clients and end-users.

BlogBridge Library's main function is to provide and efficient way of going about this very task.

As BlogBridge's own site describes it, BlogBridge Library creates a:

'' flexible web based structure to showcase Feeds, Reading Lists and Podcasts to employees in your company, or members of your organization.

It will be the 'store' where users can browse and search for recommendations of content to read with their Aggregators. And, here's the important point: these are recommendations by people in your organization for people in your organization.''

Effectively, BlogBridge Library brings Robin Good's concept of the NewsMaster to within the walls of your own organization. While the role of the NewsMaster on the web is to hand-pick the best information for a specific target audience, using BlogBridge Library, librarians or information professionals can specifically target vast lists of recommended sources of data entirely geared to the people that they work with.

The Interface


The BlogBridge Library interface uses an intuitive, instantly recognizable folder-based format to display information. Anyone familiar with Windows, Mac OS or the various Linux GUIs will not find navigation an issue.

This familiar format, with folders nested within folders, is enhanced by the library paradigm, so that working through or putting together an OPML reading list is rather like taking a look at books on a shelf, which can be pulled out and explored in more depth at your leisure.

The home page arranges categorized reading lists in rows of four folders, with four tabs that allow you to easily explore a further four rows, meaning that a given category can contain sixteen lists. These lists can in turn contain further lists, so that the only limit of the amount of feeds contained in your library is that of the license you have subscribed to.

By being able to quickly scan through entire collections using thumbnails and a rich graphical interface makes the exploration of OPML lists seem a lot less technical, and will be sure to make end-users comfortable regardless of their previous experience of working with RSS news feeds.

It looks quite evident that a lot of time has gone into making the interface as accessible and instantly recognizable as possible, as to attempt to ground its potential success in its very simplicity and accessibility.

From the very top level BlogBridge Library folders, it is possible to explore the RSS feeds within them, right down to the ability to preview individual posts within those feeds.

There is no need to actually subscribe to a feed until you have given it thorough test within BlogBridge Library. In fact, it would be quite possible to use BlogBridge Library as your sole source of RSS content review, and this will appeal to those end-users that just want a quick way to get to the news you have gathered for them.

Powerful Search

library search.jpg

End-users will also welcome the powerful array of search options available to them, facilitating content discovery even within such a large array of content sources and supporting information professionals in their quest for finding the best sources on a specific topic /theme. In the BlogBridge Feed Library it is possible to search by the titles of RSS feeds, by folder or user names, which helps you narrow down and pinpoint search results considerably.

Furthermore, search results can be limited to title, description, tags, URLs or a combination of the above, so that users can expect to bring back only the information relevant to them at any given time. While this is a simple function, it is an essential one to users attempting to navigate any sizable collection of reading lists, and serves as an excellent complement to the already strong visual navigation methods available.

The BlogBridge Feed Library provides an effective tag cloud to allow those wanting to wade through information in a more visual fashion. As all of your RSS feeds can be tagged at the point of creation, this makes it very easy to create targeted and well-organized information quickly and efficiently, aiding the easy location of key data at later times.

Organizing Users and Administrative Functions


The administrator access facilities in the BlogBridge Feed Library, allow you to easily organize other users acces rights to the library. The library administrator can in fact add new users, assign them to different "organizations", implement access restrictions, security, integrate images, biographical data and more.

The ability to create "organizations" within the BlogBridge Feed Library is a powerful aid when in need to create a series of interconnected RSS feed libraries for a number of clients or departments within your workplace.

Each "organization" can be customized as to which RSS feeds it will be given access to, and this makes the BlogBridge Feed Library very flexible for those looking to work with a large group of end-users.

Furthermore, individuals can be assigned to manage specific areas of the feed library, so that the expertise spread throughout your organization can be fed right back into the reading lists gathered in your collection.

In this fashion, you can also have your video production and new research department set itself up to automatically collect the best RSS feeds available from online news video sources, your PR department do the same for the most relevant important PR sources in their sector, R&D collect its unique mix of research and development feeds and the organization can start to manage the incoming information flow with some true organization and intelligence.

By allowing customization of data at a user and group level, the BlogBridge Feed Library avoids a one-size-fits-all approach to information architecture and allows for a number of flexible functions to be achieved from a single account or installation.


The BlogBridge Feed Library is an easy to use, powerful tool for anyone looking to quickly and easily gather and share a vast amount of OPML reading lists.

Primarily, I can see it being of interest to information professionals such as librarians, but also to organizations that rely heavily upon the monitoring of closely targeted, constantly updated information on specific themes and topics from across the web.

This second group is a vast one, and might range from pro-bloggers right up to PR, R6D, competitive intelligence, business analysis and marketing departments with a need to keep abreast of the latest changes in their field.

The BlogBridge Library does a very effective job of demystifying and simplifying the process of browsing and organizing feeds through the use of its clear, familiar and primarily visual means of navigation. It manages to make accessible what might otherwise be considered the territory of geeks and IT administrators, and that is in and of itself a major achievement.

Leveraging in full the potential of OPML and RSS, the Blogbridge Library provides excellent interoperability allowing the ability to import and export data in both of these standards-based formats.

I personally found Blogbridge Library to be a pleasure to use, and didn't encounter any noticeable bugs or issues in setting up a simple library, or in exploring the RSS feeds arranged in Blogbridge's own Expert Guides. As such, I highly recommend this easy-to-use, thoughtfully designed RSS content aggregation and delivery platform.

Specifications and Pricing

The Blogbridge Library is entirely browser-based and platform independent, which is to say that you can use it regardless of which computer or operating system you are accessing it from.

There are two versions of the Blogbridge Library - one that is free to use, and installed on the end-users own server, and another that is hosted at Blogbridge's own servers, and which comes in a number of different account sizes all offered at what I would consider very reasonable prices.


As you can see, the main differences are in:

  • The number of librarian, administrative accounts made available to the user, ranging from 5 to unlimited.
  • The amount of individual OPML feeds allowed, ranging from 100 to unlimited
  • The ability to export OPML reading lists from the library (which is not included in the Entry-Level account due to the extra load on the Blogbridge server). All accounts can obviously import and export OPML reading lists.
  • The pricing, which ranges from free for Non Profits, NGOs and academics, up to $149 / month for those with an effectively unlimited Production account

Additional resources

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posted by Michael Pick on Thursday, December 28 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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