Internet Scout Portal and RSS

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Internet Scout PortalAbout three weeks ago I began doing a test install of the Internet Scout Portal Toolkit (in the coming months we need to begin building a research portal and this is one of the packages I’m evaluating). The toolkit has many nice features (even OAI metadata export) but some real gaps as well. The first “showstopper” I came upon was the inability to import an RSS feed on the portal’s home page (had to wonder how they got to release 1.3x without adding that). Of course, my work on OSCR (an open source e-reserves package I developed about five years ago), taught me that the direction that development takes in open source software is pretty much a function of what interests the people working on it. So I decided to make this RSS import capability my contribution to Scout project. But I’m just lazy enough to make sure that the work hasn’t already been done before I begin…

Sent this to the Scout listserv (but wasn’t sure that development was continuing on the project as the last release was just over a year ago (10/27/2004)).

I have just started setting up a Scout-based research portal…and see that it supports exporting RSS feeds.

My question is whether anyone has done work so you can import a feed on the “home page.” I’m a user of Feed2JS for other pages that display RSS feeds and assume something like that could be grafted into Scout but before I begin hacking this, I’d love to find that someone’s already done some/any of the work.

Within 24 hours I got this back from Ed Almasy, Co-Director of the Scout project:

Version 1.4.0, which will be released sometime in November, supports the import of RSS feeds onto the home page, all pages, and the Metadata Tool and Portal Administration home pages.

I’d also like to mention, for anyone customizing the UI on the AdvanceD Search, Search Results, or Saved Searches areas, that the underlying infrastructure for those sections has been completely revamped in 1.4.0. THE upside of this is that it provides some new capabilities and is much easier to customize, but the downside is that sites that already have custom versions of those pages will require some work to upgrade to 1.4.0. So if you’re tinkering with those sections you may want to hold off until 1.4.0 is available.

(We strive to avoid or at least minimize backward compatibility issues, but sometimes the benefits are significant enough to justify the cost.)


So, I get some free time back and see that the Scout project is still alive and kicking. I’m eagerly awaiting release 1.4 and will now spend a bit of time looking at Mambo. It employs the same underlying technology as Scout (PHP and MySQL) but the focus is very different. Mambo is a CMS/Portal framework, not an OAI-compliant front-end to a collection of research materials. Who knows, now that we’re in the tall head of Web 2.0, we might just mash the two together…