To rss-dev about picdiary

December 17th, 2002  |  Published in foaf, photos, rdf, rss, xml  |  1 Comment

A mail sent to RSS-DEV about work in progress on picdiary and its use of RSS for cataloguing photos.

Subject: Re: [RSS-DEV] RSS and Libraries
From: mb@p…
Date: Tue Dec 17, 2002 9:18 pm

On Mon, Dec 16, 2002 at 05:14:33PM +0000, Libby Miller wrote:
> On Mon, 16 Dec 2002, se teague wrote:
> > I’m so happy to find this group! I’ve been developing an
> > RSS/Perl/PHP/MySQL based rss program to generate news and events for the
> > academic library I work for. i do have a question though; We haven’t
> > tackled associating images with RSS items rather than channels. Has
> > anyone done this before? Any best practices out there?
> I rather like what Matt Biddulph’s been doing, e.g.:

Thanks Libby. To (over)elaborate:

My site ( is just a blog of collections of
pictures. There’s not much text, the pictures are the main focus and
just have a few lines of description. For a while it’s been lacking good
search facilities, and was built out of static HTML.

I decided to use RSS 1.0 as the ‘container’ format for each picture
collection. RSS works just as well for pictures-as-items as it does for
html-pages-as-items – they’re all just web links. So I wrote a bunch of
simple perl scripts to read in RSS and display them as web pages. For
example, The link Libby gave above can be viewed at

or of course it can be viewed in a newsreader/aggregator.

If you look in the HTML source of that page, you’ll see a line like

<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”RSS”

This is following the rss autodiscovery standard so that spiders can
find the RSS metadata from the webpage.

Using RSS 1.0’s RDF capability, I can add all sorts of metadata to
channels and items with a few extra tags in the RSS. That particular
feed uses FOAF to say that certain pictures are of people like Libby.
Other (more recent) feeds such as also use Dublin Core to give
the creator and date of the channel, and Wordnet to list keywords
associated with each picture (item).

There’s a (prerelease) search engine that indexes all the RSS and uses
the Wordnet terms (and exploits Wordnet’s synonym and hypernym
relationships between words to give better search results) at
If you look ‘behind the scenes’ of that search engine at
then you’ll see that the search results themselves are returned as
dynamically-built RSS channels then rendered into HTML by some perl. So
you could subscribe to the search results if you wanted to.

Ramble ramble. There’s quite a lot to say, feel free to followup or mail
me off-list for more information.



  1. Trevor says:

    March 19th, 2004 at 5:46 pm (#)

    You can tap into my rss feed as well. I am always looking for good rss feeds that use images.

    Here are a few good ones: