Aggregating straight to UMW.EDU from bavatuesdays

The great Cathy Derecki gave us the ability to syndicate into using FeedWordPress a while ago, I just haven’t played with it until tonight 🙂 And let me tell you, it’s pretty rad to have a department site on a .edu doubling as a WordPress syndication hub! All I’m doing is pulling any post tagged dtlt from bavatuesdays and republishing it on DTLT’s official UMW.EDU page ( And did I say it’s pretty awesome? Not only can I filter off from my blog using a tag like dtlt, but I can also determine where the post shows up by using a tag like “Featured” (which will feature it as DTLT News in the central column) or use the tag “Featured Project” which will feature it in the right column under projects.

Additionally, I can tag the post according to the subject, for example does it deal with UMW Blogs or Faculty Academy or Canvas, etc., (each of which have their own category). When tagged correctly it will show up in the appropriate category across the UMW DTLT site’s navigation bar. [FeedWordPress pro tip: this works because FeedWordPress automatically converts tags to cagegories when it syndicates, which in this instance works out beautifully.]

This semester I’m gonna make a push for everyone in DTLT to blog their work more regularly, while at the same time syndicating it into any number of appropriate spaces on DTLT’s official UMW page so that we have a rich, dynamic archive of the work we do on a regular basis, as well as a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter that simply repackages this stuff in an email with links and shoots it out to all faculty and staff. What’s more, this can quickly become a model to share with departmental sites with the idea that faculty and students from a given department can seamlessly feature work. And an amazing side effect of this would be to make blogging an integral part of everyone’s workflow for sharing.

Beyond the departmental scale, Cathy Derecki and Curtiss Grymala are working on individualized faculty and staff  pages that act as individual syndication points that aggregate all an individual’s social presence from around the web (kind of like as well as the posts from their various classes if they have course blogs on UWM Blogs—which is really awesome for me. But I have to wait on that because the details of that are a whole ‘nother post I’ve been dying to write.

As of now there are just three issues with the syndication from bavatuesdays into DTLT’s UMW page:

  1. The continue reading excerpt on the front page of UMW’s DTLT page for the UMW News and Featured Projects excerpts links back to the original blog, not the post on I changed the setting in FeedWordPress, but as of now you have to manually edit the link in the excerpt, that needs to be fixed—and I have a sneaking suspicion Martha, Alan, Cathy, or Curtiss will know how 🙂
  2. When my posts syndicate over they don’t have paragraph breaks. This is a formatting issue, and I wonder if I don’t have to add paragraph tags on my bavatuesdays posts for this to work seamlessly.
  3. We need to find a way to make the first image in the post automatically the featured image for syndicated posts. I thinks this is possible, but then again I have to defer to the experts.
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7 Responses to Aggregating straight to UMW.EDU from bavatuesdays

  1. Alan Levine says:

    I’m super excited by this as a vehicle to grow the human network of UMW via tag-gregation, where the sources are the personal/professional publishing places of academics, students, staff, administrators. It is something we can do at UMW in a powerful way given our platforms.

    I’m still amazed that the work Cathy and Curtis have done to use WordPress as the publishing platform for the university has gotten so little recognition, even from WordPress itself.

    I’ll need that cheat sheet of driver tags, and I’m think if we do a few like Featured, projects, etc this could become system feeds at a higher level.

    For the issues, it must be how the widgets are presenting the excerpts; there is always a way to access the local or source link as they are in the post custom fields.

    The formatting is interesting, we ought to look at your feed source to see why it is not preserving the formatting (the Atom feed might be the better way to go?)

    And the images issue is one I want to solve, wordpress seems to need local versions of the images to use them as featured or icons, and those plugins that convert them seem to be inconsistent as to how they work.

    Mostly a network of networks us what really excites me to be part of here at UMW

  2. jmcclurken says:

    Very cool. I’d like to explore this as a way to feed some more active content into the HIST/AMST official sites, but with a distributed authorship model. Of course, multiple authors can post on the site now, but an automated republishing system for particular work done on individual blogs would be great.

  3. Reverend says:

    Think about your comment and after my discussion over dinner tonight with Anto, I think this is a project you and I can really push hard at UMW this year (as well as anyone else at DTLT who is game). But given you have the Art, ELC, and History departments, you are in many ways set to blow this open because the infrastructure is all there. I think this would be an amazing thing to watch grow over the next year, and feeds so cleanly into Domain of One’s Own, and hey wait, you already have a taker in the great Jeff McClurken! I think this can work!

    You rock, see comment above 🙂

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