By Meredith Farkas | December 24, 2007
For several years, I have used Feed2JS. It’s a great tool that makes it easy to display an RSS feed on any web page and to style the content to match the page. Many libraries are using Feed2JS on their own websites; some host it on their own server (that’s what I do), while others are using the server at feed2js.org. Feed2JS was created by instructional technologist Alan Levine 4 1/2 years ago, and like so many open source projects, he simply doesn’t have the time to dedicate to its continued development anymore. So he put out a personal ad seeking someone to take over the project. The code lives on the EduForge site and Alan has a list of ideas for how Feed2JS could be improved if some enterprising soul wants to take it on. So if you’re looking for an open source project to contribute to, consider contributing to this one as you can make a difference for thousands of people and institutions. Or if you know a PHP whiz, spread the word!
I think this is a common problem with open source projects and social software communities. Frequently the tools or communities so many of us depend on are run by one individual. And it’s usually fine until that person gets too busy to maintain it. I’ve had the same issue with the Library Success Wiki. While once in a blue moon, someone will pop in and fix some stuff on the wiki (people add to the wiki all the time, but I’m talking about the more maintenance-related tasks), I pretty much handle all of the maintenance. And that’s ok; it’s not particularly time-consuming to keep an eye on the Recent Changes feed each day and fix the errors of novice wiki editors. But I always wish I had more time to devote to it. I frequently get ideas for how to make the wiki better, but have no time really to make them happen. Anyone can pop into the wiki, create an account, and start implementing their own good ideas for making it better. I don’t have any more ownership over the wiki than you do; I just do the most basic wiki gardening. For all intents and purposes, this is an “open source community” which would benefit from the vision and effort of others. So if you’re perhaps not a coder but are looking for a social software project to contribute to, just pop over to the Library Success Wiki and think about what you might want to change/add. The beauty of a wiki is that your contribution can be as big or small as you want. You can add to an already-existing page, create a new page, or completely reorganize the wiki content.
Hopefully Feed2JS and the Library Success Wiki will continue to thrive and become far more than their creators had ever envisioned.