My wife Luann wants to help promote an annual event called the Fall Foliage Artist Studio Tour (FFAST). The organization has a website, and could publish a calendar there, but a calendar with only a single date doesn’t make much sense. And yet this event wants to be written down only once, then flow through the Keene hub as well as other local and regional hubs. How can you arrange that?
As the curator of the Keene hub, I keep a special calendar of one-off and recurring events. These are events that I happen to know and care about, aren’t available in any existing calendar feed, but ought to be syndicating through the hub. I only do this for stuff that I care about, though, and the FFAST event is Luann’s thing, not my thing.
She’s willing and able to curate certain art-related events for our region. One way to do that would be for her to spin up a new elmcity hub for the purpose. But that’s a heavyweight solution. For things like FFAST she needs something lighter. Hence the method described in this post, which for lack of a better term I am calling subcuration.
The idea, in a nutshell, is to combine private and public use of an online calendar. I’ll demonstrate it for Google Calendar, and also for Windows Live Calendar. In both cases, the method entails:
1. Using a private calendar for your personal stuff.
2. Using an auxiliary public calendar for public stuff.
3. Viewing both calendars together so you see everything, just as if you kept it all in your personal calendar.
4. Making the public calendar’s iCalendar feed available for syndication.
Subcuration with Google Calendar
My personal Google Calendar is called Jon Udell (private). To verify that it’s private, I can follow this trail of links from the GCal home page: Settings -> Calendar Settings -> Calendars -> Jon Udell (private) -> Share this calendar. The checkbox named Mark this calendar public is unchecked, as it should be.
Now I’ll create a new calendar, called Jon Udell (public). To make it public, I check the checkbox.
As Google explains, that means the events here will appear in public Google search results. As Google does not explain, it also means that the iCalendar feed for this calendar is open to syndication.
Now I’ll add the FFAST event to my public calendar:
Here’s a view of both calendars. It combines stuff from my personal calendar (birthdays) with stuff from my public calendar (FFAST). From this point of view, it’s just like keeping everything in my personal calendar.
But there’s a key difference. The public calendar has a public iCalendar feed, and I can give its URL to the curator of a syndication hub. To find the URL, I follow this link trail: Settings -> Calendar Settings -> Calendars -> Jon Udell (public). Scrolling down from there, I find a section labeled Calendar Address which contains:
The URL for the iCalendar feed is hiding behind the green ICAL button. To capture it:
1. Right-click (or alt-click) the button.
2. Copy the link address.
3. Bookmark it (if you’re a curator), or paste it into an email to a curator (if you’re a subcurator).
In case you’re curious, here’s the actual feed that a personal calendar app, or a syndication hub, will retrieve at that URL:
BEGIN:VCALENDAR PRODID:-//Google Inc//Google Calendar 70.9054//EN VERSION:2.0 CALSCALE:GREGORIAN METHOD:PUBLISH X-WR-CALNAME:Jon Udell (public) X-WR-TIMEZONE:America/New_York BEGIN:VEVENT DTSTART;VALUE=DATE:20101009 DTEND;VALUE=DATE:20101011 DTSTAMP:20100519T151655Z UID:firstname.lastname@example.org CREATED:20100519T150628Z DESCRIPTION:http://www.fallfoliageartstudiotour.com/ LAST-MODIFIED:20100519T151054Z LOCATION:http://www.fallfoliageartstudiotour.com/ SEQUENCE:2 STATUS:CONFIRMED SUMMARY:Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour TRANSP:TRANSPARENT END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR
Subcuration with Windows Live Calendar
As before, my private calendar is Jon Udell (private). Now I’ll create a new calendar, called Jon Udell (public).
To make it public I click Edit Sharing which leads to:
Here I check Share This Calendar and Make Your Calendar Public.
Now I add the FFAST event to the public calendar:
Here’s the same combined view of private and public events:
To capture the URL of the public iCalendar feed, I follow this link trail from the Live Calendar home page: Calendars -> Jon Udell (public) -> Edit sharing -> ICS: Import into another calendar application. That leads to:
That’s is the URL of the iCalendar feed. When a client (personal calendar app or a syndication hub) retrieves the feed, it gets this:
BEGIN:VCALENDAR METHOD:PUBLISH VERSION:2.0 PRODID:-//Microsoft Corporation//Windows Live Calendar//EN BEGIN:VTIMEZONE BEGIN:VEVENT UID:29ca7340-9f29-43f5-a62e-7e989ddb99a9 CLASS:PUBLIC X-MICROSOFT-CDO-BUSYSTATUS:FREE TRANSP:TRANSPARENT SEQUENCE:0 CREATED:20100519T164446Z LAST-MODIFIED:20100519T164446Z DTSTART;VALUE=DATE:20101009 DTEND;VALUE=DATE:20101011 SUMMARY:Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour LOCATION:http://www.fallfoliageartstudiotour.com PRIORITY:0 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR
These two examples illustrate a set of principles in the context of two different online calendar applications. The same principles will apply to other calendar applications that support multiple calendars, and can publish selected calendars in iCalendar format to open URLs.
The principles are, once again:
1. Use a private calendar for your personal stuff.
2. Use an auxiliary public calendar for public stuff.
3. View both calendars together so you see everything, just as if you kept it all in your personal calendar.
4. Make the public calendar’s iCalendar feed available for syndication.