My sister-in-law is a librarian in Allen ISD, in Texas, and has been updating her webpage on the school’s website with new content. I’d like to subscribe to her updates in Google Reader, but the content management system presently utilized by the district does not appear to support RSS or otherwise provide a “subscribable” web feed. The following icon is commonly used today to indicate when a “web feed” is available.

web feed icon from WikiPedia

Fortunately, Google Reader can create a special web feed for sites like this. Google Reader “watches” that page and when a change is made, that new content is put into the custom web feed you create. To make a custom Google Reader feed, simply copy and paste the direct URL / web address of the page you’d like Reader to “watch” after you click the SUBSCRIBE button in the upper left corner of the Google Reader website.

Google Reader - Create a Feed

Now I’m subscribed to her page, even though it’s not technically “a blog” since it lacks a web feed. Woo hoo! I love Google Reader!

If you’re shopping for a content management system or learning management system for your school / school district, make sure it supports web feeds. By offering that support, you’ll provide a flexible way for parents and others in the school community to “subscribe” to publicly available updates as they are posted on your site.

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