User:Brent Eades-Bank of Canada

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What is RSS-CB?

RSS-CB is an extension of RSS 1.0, and was created to meet certain information dissemination needs of central banks. RSS-CB follows the structure of conventional RSS 1.0, while adding custom elements that are intended primarily for consumption by machine processes. It also supports several Dublin Core elements. The most recent version of the RSS-CB specification is 1.1.

RSS-CB is based on RSS 1.0 — as opposed to other syndication formats such as RSS 2.0 or Atom — principally because RSS 1.0 is an instance of RDF, a well established W3C specification providing "a common framework for expressing... information so it can be exchanged between applications without loss of meaning."[1]

RSS-CB supports five content categories:

  • speeches
  • events
  • statistics
  • news items
  • research papers

Characteristics of RSS-CB

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RSS-CB exchange rate feed as displayed by Firefox's "Live Bookmarks"

RSS-CB specifies common representations of the five content categories listed above, and provides a common vocabulary for describing that content. It offers guidelines for populating RSS elements so that salient information can be taken in at a glance when displayed by RSS readers or RSS-aware web browsers. It extends RSS with custom elements that hold discrete representations of the components of a feed item, for use by automated processes. For example, an exchange rate feed includes elements for the two currencies, the reporting agency, the frequency of the rate's publication, its type (e.g., "noon spot", etc.), the date of the observation, and of course the rate itself.

RSS-CB is extensible through custom XML namespaces. This permits institutions to employ elements and attributes that are specific to their own dissemination needs, or to dissemination needs common to a group of institutions.

RSS-CB diverges from basic RSS most notably in its representation of statistical data. The title of an interest rate item, for example, follows an ordered set of country-code, rate-observation, rate-name, date (in an ISO-8601 format), institutional-identifier, and rate-type. Punctuation and spacing is also stipulated. The intention is to offer reasonably complete information at a glance, in a manner that is consistent among central banks. (And which permits machine processes to parse feeds in a consistent, predictable manner.)

Sample RSS-CB 1.1 item showing custom elements

<item rdf:about="">
 <title>2 Jan Reserve Bank Review vol. 24 on January 31, 2007</title>
 <description>Description text</description>
   <cb:simpleTitle>Reserve Bank Review vol. 24 on January 31, 2007</cb:simpleTitle>
   <cb:keyword>monetary policy</cb:keyword>
     <cb:title>Press release in PDF format</cb:title>
     <cb:description>Description text relating to above elements</cb:description>

Who will find RSS-CB useful?

RSS-CB can be useful to anyone wishing to, for example:

  • republish links to selected economic research
  • monitor monetary policy announcements from major financial markets
  • track daily statistical data from selected central banks
  • aggregate press releases from selected banks


The RSS-CB specification began with a meeting in June 2006 at the Bank of Canada. Present were representatives of the Canadian bank, the Bank for International Settlements, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Banco de Mexico.

Each bank took responsibility for aspects of RSS-CB in which they had particular expertise (exchange rates, speeches, etc), and together they drafted an initial specification. In December 2006, this group — now joined by representatives of the European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank — met again at the Bank for International Settlements and finalized version 1.0 of the specification.

The banks continued to refine the specification in response to user feedback, and in June 2007 RSS-CB 1.1 was introduced. In this version, content is held in a improved hierarchical structure, which allows for easier validation.


See Also