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New and Improved IHS Optometry Forum

on August 15th, 2005 | Filed under Optoblog

The IHS optometry bulletin board is new and improved.

Some of the information presented in the former string entitled “Information for New Users” is obsolete since the IHS IT people upgraded the software that runs the forum in early August 2005. There are many new and improved features. Gone is the old user interface (although you can still see it by selecting “tree view”). You can now add a small picture to your profile that displays beside each of your posts. The best new feature is the addition of the site feed (the little orange XML icon). Feeds are available for the whole board, each conference (aka forum), and each topic (aka thread).

Below is a copy of an e-mail I sent the IHS optometrists.

The IHS IT people have upgraded the antiquated user interface of our IHS optometry webboard. To access the new and improved IHS Optometry forum, you will need to use the following url:

Please update your bookmarks.

The WebBoard 8 application that our new forum uses has brought several improvements, among them is a site feed (aka site syndication, XML, RSS, Atom). A site feed allows you to reed the content from a website without actually having to visit the site. For example, let’s say you like to keep updated on information from several (or hundreds of) different websites. In the old days you would have to click through each site (either entering the web address or clicking on your bookmarks and then browse the whole site to see what’s new). With XML or RSS feeds, you only have to use a feed aggregator, subscribe to a site feed (our optometry forum site feed url is http://www.forum.ihs.gov/WB/rss/?a=61&b=0 ) then anytime there are updates, you are notified and can read them right from the aggregator instead of clicking through. Aggregators (or feed readers) come in all types. One can use a stand alone program on your own computer like the one at feedreader.com. Most e-mail clients like Thunderbird and web browsers like Firefox and IE7 also employ this functionality. I find it convenient to use a web-based aggregator like www.bloglines.com or , http://www.newsgator.com/ , or even my.yahoo.com so that I can view my content from any computer (except IHS computers which usually block websites related to blogs and site syndication).

For more information on how site feeds work, I suggest the following (note many of these resources are blocked by IHS content filtering, so you may need to forward this e-mail to your home computer):

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_aggregator
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_news_aggregators
  • www.bloglines.com
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_Syndication
  • http://www.faganfinder.com/search/rss.shtml

Or just do a web search on key terms like RSS, Atom, XML, RDF, site feed, and aggregator.


2 Responses to “New and Improved IHS Optometry Forum”

  1. David says:

    I was posting this because I’m trying to start an RSS feed for the http://www.optometry.ihs.gov site, but I was having problems with UTF-8 transcription, so I just posted it here and will cut and paste later.
    Anyway, anyone is welcome to join the IHS Optometry forum. Students and prospective applicants should definitely get on board.

  2. This page is like one of the most popular posts on my site for some reason; however, it should be noted that the IT people with IHS removed the forums/web boards a long time ago.