iTunes U Documentation

Connexions has several RSS feeds that are used to populate our iTunes U site. This documentation covers that maintenance of these files and the iTunes U site.

RSS Files

  • The RSS files are located at the top level of cnx.org. Log in as a manager user and select the Contents tab. Select the following folders to get to the files:
    • feeds, then itunesu
  • Each collection has an RSS feed file and an image file, that is the book cover, in this directory.
  • Files should be added to cnx.org as type "Image/Other File". This will allow them to be downloaded by iTunes U

RSS File Details

  • The RSS feeds are a combination of standard RSS and Apple's extension of RSS.
  • Details on Apple's requirements are in the iTunes U Administration Guide.
  • Some Feed Elements to be aware of
    • <itunes:summary> - only add this at the top level and not for each item in the feed. Space is limited on an iTunes U page. It displays best if only added at the top level.
    • <copyright> - add the Author(s) name(s) and CC-BY license information. Example:
      <copyright>John S. Hutchinson.  It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 1.0</copyright>
      
    • <itunes:image> - used for the book cover image
    • <itunesu:category> - Do not use this at the top level, only on each item. The list of categories is in the iTunes U Administration Guide linked above.
    • <title> - Inside an <item> element, make sure you include either "(PDF)" or "(ePub)" after the title. Spell EPUB "ePub". It is the Apple way.
    • <enclosure> - make sure you use a direct link to the datastore and not the link used in cnx.org. Apple will not be able to download the file without a direct link.
      • Correct Example:
        <enclosure url="http://cnx.org/pdfs/col10262-1.2.pdf" ...
        
      • Incorrect Example:
        <enclosure url="http://cnx.org/content/col10262/latest/pdf" ...
        THIS WILL NOT WORK!
        
      • length attribute - this is the file size in bytes. I used this site to calculate the bytes.
      • type attribute - use correct mime-type for PDF or EPUB
    • <pubDate> - This is the last published date. The correct format is below. Do not include any of the brackets:
      [3 letter abbreviation of day of the week], [month date] [3 letter abbreviation of month] [Year] [HH:MM:SS] [Timezone]
      Example: Fri, 25 Mar 2005 15:19:00 CST
      
      • I used this site to determine day of the week.

iTunes U Administration

  • Log in to the iTunes U Manager
  • Collections
    • A Collection in iTunes U represents a Collection on cnx.org. Once your RSS feeds files are loaded into cnx.org, you can paste the link to the RSS file on the Collections page to add the Collection to iTunes U.
      • iTunes U will check your feed files once a day to see if there is an update. You can manually update the feed by clicking the link to the collection in the iTunes U manager and clicking the "Update Feed" link at the top of the page.
    • Tags - tags in iTunes U are used to create the subject links. Do not use the keywords from cnx.org for these. Use words that will link content together in a meaningful way such as all business books together, all math books together, etc.
  • Provider page - this is the welcome page for iTunes U. It is also where tag pages are accessed.
  • Tag pages - just adding tags to your collections does not make them available. You must select all of the tags on the Provider page setup page or they will not be displayed.