Last week we launched our improved news service: http://news.parliament.uk/

This new area allows our editorial team to expand the service they already provide: highlighting parliamentary business, reports, events and more.

news-site

News then, news now

Previously our news content was restricted to text on our main landing pages, with no unique URLs (web addresses) for individual stories or associated RSS feeds. Now each news story has its own URL and there is an RSS feed for all the news content.

We are applying our libraries’ taxonomy to each news story, so you can browse news by subject, ie news only about the House of Lords or Bills. This taxonomy stretches into the hundreds, so our news by subject listing will grow as our archive builds up.

RSS and email subscriptions

Each subject has its own RSS feed – we list the the RSS for some of the top level subjects – and users can make their own feed for subjects they are particularly interested in. For example, if you’re interested in the subject Economy and finance, adding ‘rss’ to the end of the URL will give you the RSS feed to subscribe to, the same with adding ‘atom’. (Here are the Wikipedia entries for RSS and Atom feeds – you may also find this video from Common Craft explaining RSS helpful). We also offer the option to subscribe to our main news categories by email.

Using WordPress

Around the office the working title for this project has been ‘WordPress News’, which should give you a clue as to what’s under the hood of the news area: WordPress.org.

WordPress is open source software that is free to use and customise. This is the first time Parliament has used the open source option. The main reasons for doing so are the ability to customise the look and functionality of WordPress easily, it’s economical, and inputting and publishing content is simple and fast. And it lets us provide RSS feeds. And unique, fairly friendly, URLs. Basically everything you’d expect from a website today.

We’re not the first organisation/institution to use WordPress in the UK, perhaps the most famous recent example is the Number 10 website, but we’re happy to be joining an expanding group.

Send us feedback

We are very interested in hearing what you think of this new area and what we can do to improve upon it. Please leave your comments below or email webmaster@parliament.uk

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