Museum Blogs Redux

Back in the spring of 2006 we launched MuseumBlogs.org, a directory and blog-feed aggregator. The site was essentially a WordPress “hack” and over time its’ performance began to suffer as the number of blogs and feeds grew exponentially. Lately the site has been struggling under the weight of 300+ blogs and nearly a quarter million posts. Since our release of RSS Mixer in September we’ve been looking to replace the old Museum Blogs system with a more scalable aggregator.

Since a mix of feeds contains the same information that the directory site had originally (blog title, description, thumbnail, and posts) all we needed to do was create a “structure” for putting this “mix” information into a new site. Take a look at Museum Blogs and you’ll see a few differences, we updated the design a bit while we made the larger structural changes to the site. The main difference is much better performance. The site is truly powered by RSS Mixer–as changes are made to the mix they are reflected in the Museum Blogs site.

One drawback of the new site is that blogs that don’t have properly formatted RSS or Atom feeds no longer appear. This has effectively removed about 70 blogs from the original directory. However, these blogs weren’t aggregated in first place, as the old WordPress system couldn’t read those feeds either.

Beyond much better performance, a major benefit of the new system is that we can take advantage of some of the features of RSS Mixer.  Take a look at the Museum Blogs mix, you can get an OPML file, Widgets (Apple, Web, Vista, Yahoo!), and a mobile version of the mix which contains 274 blogs.  We hope to integrate some of these features directly into the Museum Blogs site in the future.

For now we’ve archived the old Museum Blogs site (pictured above) which contains an aggregated collection of 224,093 posts. We’re not quite sure what to do with this historic archive, it may not be worth saving as it contains only partial posts and the majority of the original blogs are still available. We welcome your comments or questions about both the new and the old Museum Blogs directory.

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