RSS Usage On Welsh University Home Pages

Last year I published a blog post which provided a summary of usage of RSS feeds on Scottish University home pages. The survey was carried out in July 2008, shortly before the IWMW 2008 event was held in Aberdeen. The aim was to collate evidence on the extent to which best practices in institutional use of RSS were being implemented in Scotland and to facilitate discussions on reasons why best practices may not always be being implemented and ways of addressing such barriers.

As I will be visiting Wales shortly I thought it would be useful to carry out a similar survey of the 12 Welsh Universities.

The Findings

The findings, based on a manual survey carried out on 21 August 2009, are given in the following table.

Institution No. of RSS Feeds Comments
1 Aberystwyth University 0
2 Bangor University 0
3 Cardiff University 0
4 Glamorgan University 0
5 Glyndŵr University 4 RSS feeds for news, sports news, Careers centre news and Student news.
6 Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama 0
7 Swansea University 0
8 Swansea Metropolitan University 1 RSS feed for news.
9 Trinity University College 0
10 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 0
11 University of Wales, Lampeter 0
12 University of Wales, Newport 0

It appears that only two Welsh institutions are providing RSS feeds which can be found from the home page (16.67%).

Revisiting Community Surveys

Last year’s blog post on RSS usage on Scottish University home pages discussed possible reasons for the low levels of usage, and I don’t intend to revisit that discussion as I suspect the same reasons will be valid for both communities. I should also add that Tony Hirst has developed a tool for dynamic discovery of auto-detectable RSS feeds for all UK University home pages, which currently reports a total of 48 out of 133 institutions (36.1%).

So rather than discussing the specific example of RSS feeds across a sector, I’m more interested in ways in which a sector (or interested and motivated individuals within a sector) can provide similar (factual) surveys which can help to support discussions and, perhaps, inform policies.

Liz Azyan has compiled lists of UK Universities usage of YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and MySpace. But, as can be seen from the list for MySpace usage, it is not always easy to provide complete coverage and there are likely to be difficulties in ongoing maintenance of such resources. Would it be useful, I wonder, for the Welsh Web management community to set up a wiki to keep a record of trends within their own sector? This is something I will explore at a meeting of Welsh institutional Web managers at the University of Aberystwyth on Monday.