Extending RSS to Meet Central Bank Needs

Paul Asman, San Cannon, Christine Sommo


The Federal Reserve wanted to use RSS to represent not only news, such as press releases, but also data, such as exchange rates. The Fed hoped to use one set of feeds to accommodate two different audiences for RSS, human readers (at one remove) and self-contained automated processes. While the different RSS specifications provide elements for traditional news items, they require extensions to handle data. Since central banks all tend to report the same sorts of information, the Fed joined with other central banks to create an extended specification that met their needs. This specification extends RSS 1.0, which is the more readily extended RSS specification. The extension uses elements from established metadata standards wherever it can, such as for language and audience, and adds elements when subjects are not found in those standards or are more particular to central banks, such as (monetary) currency. Although the central banks intend these new elements to be used primarily by machine processes, the element names have sufficient semantic transparency so that they can be understood by human readers.

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