A reasonable and succinct explanation of RSS feeds:
A family of web-feed formats used to publish frequently updated content, such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. Called a “feed, web feed or channel,” RSS that stands for “Really Simple Syndication,” contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text, making it easier for people to keep up with their favourite web sites. [my emphasis; source - PDF link]
But I’m kind of resistant to the idea of a summary only.
We all know that one of the main benefits of RSS is to make it easier for people to consume web content by putting it all in one place — your reader. Rather than making you run around to your favorite web sites individually to see if there is anything new.
So a feed that’s only a summary that then forces you to click through to the web site anyhow strikes me as somewhat missing the point. I can follow the business logic of the commercial web at a rational level; but I’m doubtful whether it actually helps in practice. And anyhow, being government, my drivers are somewhat different.
Yet, almost all the feeds I’ve come across from GoC websites take the summary approach. Including the ones from my Department. When we were implementing feeds, I did push for having full rather than partial feeds, but it didn’t happen. Oh well, I thought, at least we finally have some feeds. (And I can blog about it.)
So — what do you think? Are there times when putting only a summary into the feed makes more sense?