Put useful data into the RSS feeds created by Primo
Technically RSS feeds created by Primo are working. But from a content perspective the feed is a mess.
Let's start with the feed header:
Primo delivers <rss version="2.0">
The standard specification are at http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification . It was published in August 2002. The RSS 2.0 specification is copyrighted by Harvard University and is frozen. Please use RFC 4287 also known as Atom.
It is simply the better option for may reasons.
The description of the feed is <title>Records from Primo</title> .
As a user I would like to see my search terms in the feed title - like in the brief result screen in the web interface. At minimum it should be the name of the service where this feed is coming from. The name of software used to create the feed is useless to a reader.
The link to the source is pointing back to the Primo main page with the classic user interface. But that's confusing for institutions using the new user interface!
Let's have a look to a feed item:
A cruical element of RSS feeds is the
<pubDate>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 16:25:22 GMT</pubDate>
The specification says: "Its value is a date, indicating when the item was published." In a Primo feed this is always the same date; I assume it is the time stamp when the feed was created. Please change this immediately. RSS management software cannot handle it because the pubDate is used for chronological sorting and to find out what's new. What's needed is the publication date of the publication or second best the date and time when the record was added to the Primo index.
The delivered link in the link field is "the URL of the item". It's pointing back to the full view of the record in Primo. That makes sense. But if available I would like to get the OpenURL here because I want to connect my users to the article or the service page and not to the Primo record again. It's fulfillment at this point!
Why the same link is also in guid is a mystery to me. RSS standard says: "guid stands for globally unique identifier. It's a string that uniquely identifies the item. When present, an aggregator may choose to use this string to determine if an item is new." What about the PNX ID?
Last not least the description:
<description>Plasmodium Falciparum -- Analysis ; Proteases -- Analysis ; Proteins -- Analysis ; Phosphates -- Analysis ; Malaria -- Analysis;</description>
Often it incorporates only "N/A" or sometimes subject headings. But the description should include the same information as the brief view in the web interface of Primo like bibliographic information, identifier, subject headings, language, etc. This is what the user will see in his feed reader of choice or what a feed aggregation system can use to give meaningful context for the title of this item. Of course it's tricky because a Primo search delivers very different types of content with very different metadata. Books have authors; journals have not. Articles are published in a journal and pictures have a resolution and digital objects have a file format.
Today there are no customization options for the feed content. If the settings of the brief view are applied to the feed too, it would improve the item description massively and solve the description problem. This need is solved for the export to a reference management software. The RSS feed for a query is not so much different from that.
Sharon Robinson commented
I'm hoping that ebooks will be included?
Recently there was a discussion on the Primo mailing list with a similar problem: "NERS enhancement 5381: Citation Styles Enhancement". Allen Jones, Primo/MetaLib Working Group Chair ELUNA, was reporting that the working group and the product management were looking into the possibility to map PNX elements to the Citation Style Language (CSL) to offer more flexibility with citation export for reference management. My concern with the Primo RSS feed is exactly the same. It would be a quick win to apply the CSL solution also to the formatting of feeds.
Gabriele Höfler commented
you are making some very important and well-informed points here. I really hope Ex Libris is going to take all this to heart.