News Importer

Enable the News Importer A collection of features or functionality that can be enabled on sites. WDS has made several optional modules available to site administrators to enable on their site. For example, the "News" module enables the News content type and provide a News List Block for displaying news on a page.

The News Importer module must be enabled before you can use it. Currently, staff from Web Development Services must enable this module for you. Please contact us.

The News Importer module allows you to automatically import content from other websites into your News A collection of fields that describe a specific type of content, like a news article, a person, or an event. Site admins can add additional content types by enabling optional modules. WDS can also create custom content types for a site. . This feature requires the other website to publish an RSS feed to a publicly available URL. Because content is imported into the News content type, it can be displayed and managed just like any other news article that you add on your site. For example, you can use News List Blocks to display the items.

An alternative method for displaying items from an RSS feed on your site is available via the Feed Blocks module. This method does not import the content into the News content type. Instead, the content in the feed is displayed in a special list block, with content titles linking directly to the source website.

How It Works

After adding one or more feeds to your site's configuration (described below), items from the source feed are imported into the News content type every 15 minutes. Items that were previously imported will be automatically updated if their information in the feed has changed (e.g. the title of a news item from the feed was changed).

Each feed importer can be configured to automatically publish all items that are imported or to instead leave them unpublished, allowing an editor to manually publish only the content that's desired. Imported items that remain unpublished for 30 days will be automatically deleted, but published items will remain indefinitely.

There are two news importer types available: Generic Source and Princeton Site Builder Source. The Princeton Site Builder Source should be used if the website you are importing from is also running on the Site Builder platform. Otherwise, the Generic Source choice should be used. There are a few benefits gained when importing from a Site Builder source website:

  • The alternative text and caption for the featured image are imported. Generic source feeds do not import this information.
  • The full article body (except for embedded media) and article summary are both imported. Generic source feeds typically only include an article summary (depends on the source website).
  • The "source" field from the news article is imported as-is. Generic source feeds will have their source field mapped to the URL of the article from the source site instead.

For Generic Sources, the table below describes how data from the RSS feed items are mapped to fields on the News content type. The mapping is similar for Site Builder source feeds, except there's some extra field mappings to support the features described above.

The mapping of fields from the RSS feed items to fields in the News content type.
RSS Element News Content Type Field
<title> Title
<link> Source
<description> Body
<pubDate> Published Date
<dc:creator> Author (an author A term is an individual item that belongs to some taxonomy vocabulary, typically used for categorizing content. For example, a vocabulary "Colors" may have terms in it "Red", "Green", "Blue". will be auto created as needed)
<enclosure> If the enclosure points to an image URL, it will be imported as an Image media item (see important note about alt text below)

Setup Instructions

  1. Contact WDS to have the module enabled.
  2. Login to your site as a user with the "site admin" or "content manager" role.
  3. Visit the Content » Feeds page from the admin toolbar.
  4. Click the Add Feed button
    1. If you are importing from another Site Builder website, select "News Importer (Princeton Site Builder Source)"
    2. If you are importing from some other website, select "News Importer (Generic Source)"
  5. Provide a descriptive title of the feed to help you easily identify it later.
  6. Paste in the URL of the RSS feed source. Feed URLs for Site Builder websites are described in the News RSS feeds documentation.
  7. If you want imported articles published immediately, check "Auto publish imported news". Otherwise, you will have to manually publish articles after they're imported. Keeping them unpublished allows you to curate which imported articles you want to display.
  8. For Princeton Site Builder Sources, there are some additional options:
    1. "Import full body instead of summary": By default, only the summaries are articles from the feed are imported. Enable this feature to import the full body of the article instead.
    2. "Taxonomy term to assign": Select a taxonomy term to assign to every news article that is imported via this feed. This is most useful when you have several feed importers, and you want to identify which articles were imported from which feed. Only terms associated with the news content type are valid.
  9. Click the Save and Import button to create the feed and immediately import items.
  10. The feed will be automatically checked every 15 minutes for updates.
  11. You can add multiple feeds if you need to import content from multiple different websites.

Managing Imported News Articles

  1. Visit the Content » Feeds page from the admin toolbar.
  2. Click the feed title of the feed you want to manage.
  3. You will be brought to a page that displays the list of all imported news articles. You can publish/unpublish/delete imported articles using the checkboxes and bulk actions dropdown.
  4. Because articles are imported into the News content type, you can also view and manage them from the main content dashboard.

Important Notes and Limitations

  • While you can edit imported articles (just as you could with news articles you create), changes you make to the title, body, featured image, or author may be overwritten when the feed importer runs again. This can happen if the feed source has been updated to make a correction or change to the article. Categorization you provide with taxonomy terms will not be overwritten.
  • Generic Source feeds do not support providing alternative text along with images. The feed importer will import the image but will leave the alt text blank. To improve accessibility, you need to edit the image and provide descriptive alt text. This is due to a limitation of the standard RSS format.
  • Imported articles that remain unpublished for 30 days will be automatically deleted, along with the image (if imported). This is to prevent the accumulation content that will never be used.
  • Many RSS feeds published by other websites do not include the full article contents and instead provide a short summary. The idea is that your site should link off to that article instead of displaying the entire contents. The original article URL is populated into the "Source" field to allow your visitors to click to read the full article contents. However, if importing from a Site Builder source feed, the full article contents (except embedded media) are available for import.