PANFeed has been collecting academic news for a while now and so we started thinking about more things you would want to do with your news. We had two needs expressed by Les Carr and William Nixon.
The first was for a self managing feed to make a more organized cohesive magazine than a traditional PANFeed. The idea is that the creator choses some specific sources for their news. Take for example the RSS feed of latest publications from your institutional repository and combine that with a blog feed. In the blog you write editorials, features and other relevant news and then that is interlaced among your latest papers. The result is a much more conventional style magazine rather than a collection of related articles. The result is, of course, a feed which is optimized for personalized magazines readers. You might also include this feed on the front page of your repository and a link to add it to your Google reader. The result is what we are calling a PANFeed Journal. Over time this feed will grow and update.
The second type of feed is completely controlled by the user. They explicitly pick URLs from around the web to become articles and sections in what we are calling a PANFeed Issue. An issue is completely static and will never change unless the owner explicitly changes it. The intention is these changes will only be corrections and minor edits. An owner may well create many Issues on the same subject and they may even be released on a set time period. The user will have explicit control over the URLs and also the ordering of the articles. Unlike other PANFeeds the ordering may not be in date order but in what ever order the Issue creator sees as appropriate.
We have already set about creating the PANFeed Journal feature and expect a first launch at some point in the next few weeks.
Originally, I was a little confused as to what the first type of PANFeed does to make this interesting. Isn’t it already what Google Reader and other feed aggregators do for you already?
However, the second type is absolutely genius. Given hundreds of open access research repositories around the world, you or I or anyone could create our own “special issue” on a topic we think is important and hasn’t been done before.
I envisage a situation where we start “following” certain curators of PANFeed issues, to read their monthly/quarterly/yearly journal on a particular topic. And those curators have presumably discovered the papers in the first place by following a number of those first type of institutional PANFeeds!
You are dead right. A PANFeed Journal is simply a feed aggregation. The only subtleties are the output is optimized for a personal magazine reader and that we keep a list of all the PANFeed Journals created so that people can browse and search them. Things like feedburner give you a private URL which you then have to control the circulation of. We do that last little bit of leg work for you.