I am working on a few different personal projects and one is a community enrichment site. One of the features I really want to add to the site is a robust event calendar. I’m currently using one that is FULL of great information but it isn’t very open. For example, there aren’t any obvious ical feeds or ics attachments to any of the events in order to add them to an end users calendar easily. Really, it’s a shame.
I follow along with Jon Udell’s blog (Jon is very interested in and, active with, developing calendar aggregation services). Jon has done some cool stuff but, more importantly to me, he has opened my eyes to the importance of the open data format in calendars.
The event calendar I am using on my projects site has upwards of 6000 events in it at a time so obviously I would need a smart “limited time frame” feed of the events. Heck, they already categorize the events into 6 main categories so really, it seems to me, it should be six separate calendar feeds that can be aggregated however the consumer wishes to pull them in.
I understand that the newspaper that provides the calendar service uses the calendar as a means to bring traffic to their site and I think that’s great - however once you are there to see the specific details of an event it is imperative that an end user be able to add that event, easily, to their own personal calendar of choice this way they can manage their notifications and reminders about the event.
What I don’t know how to do is to convince the creators of my communities calendars, specifically the newspapers which is the most data rich, to support open standards. I live in a small, fairly non-technical city, so the newspapers calendar is the de facto source for event information. Each organization in town doesn’t maintain their own calendar, they just fax or email event schedules in plain text format to the paper for inclusion into the “community calendar” - granted, it is aggregation of its own it just isn’t open enough for my tastes.
If you know of any other folks who are actively working on the subject of calendar aggregation I’d love to know about them too.