RSS and eGovernment


News releases are perhaps the most obvious example of how RSS can be applied to eGovernment. Government has a peculiar relationship with the news media and, consequently, issues lots of news releases. Utah's Governor's office has officially started to issue news releases in RSS. It looks like RSS 1.0.

Kudos to the Governor's office for doing this and setting an example for the rest of the State. Its surprising how long it takes to get something even this simple happening. I talked to Natalie Gochnour, the Governor's Press Deputy, about RSS over a year ago and Utah Interactive was "very excited" to work on it and it still took a year. I know Dave Fletcher's been pushing this as well.

A few comments:

  • The title ought to identify it as Utah Governor's News, not just Governor's News. Some people may subscribe to news feeds from multiple governor's offices. I know if I were a short features editor at Governing magazine, this is something I'd love.
  • Most of the descriptions are blank right now. It would be nice if they contained the first paragraph of the story so you can read enough to know whether to click out of not.
  • I, for one, would love to hear how they selected the RSS version and why. That would be a good data point and help others with those kinds of decisions. Maybe Dave could blog it.

Now, I'm not sure how this is implemented, but regardless, its a great example of Web services in eGovernment. Some may not think of an RSS feed as Web services, but making data available in a self describing format is one of the key first steps. When I talk to people about Web services, and particularly those working on eGovernment, my message is always the same: "get started." RSS is a great way to get started because its easy and immediately useful.