Internet technology hosted by Berkman Center
Guids are not just for geeks anymore ;->
Friday, July 18, 2003Background
RSS 2.0 has a neat feature that allows an item to include a "globally unique identifier," or "guid."
Aggregators and readers can use the guid in one or two ways:
Jenny Levine, a librarian, runs a weblog called The Shifted Librarian. Her weblog tool supports guids, so her RSS feed contains them. My aggregator, when it reads Jenny's feed, displays a little purple pound-sign -- the standard graphic for a permalink -- next to Jenny's posts. This way I can jump directly to the archive page that contains the item I'm reading with a single mouse click.
Here's a screen shot that shows what Jenny's post looks like in my aggregator.
Also, because her weblog tool supports this feature and my aggregator does too, if Jenny edits a post, corrects the spelling of a couple of words, or changes the phrasing in a sentence, I don't have to read it again. I'm really busy, and so are many other aggregator users, and appreciate the time savings.
Guids sure have a funny name, but they're quite useful. If your weblog tool supports them, use them. If not, ask the developer to add the support. It's not very hard.
Further, I strongly believe that all aggregators and readers should pay attention to guids where they are available. It's a convenience that many users will appreciate, especially people who are in a hurry.