What is RSS? - A Brief Introduction
What is RSS?RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary and is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. This makes RSS a great way to keep up to date with what's out there on the web. Rather than having to regularly visit your favorite websites to see if there is any new content RSS alerts you of that content via feeds!
Not all websites provide feeds but the number and types of sites that do are growing rapidly. Some examples of content delivered by RSS are news headlines from news sites such as the BBC and CNN and new table of contents of electronic journals(a list of feeds for journal TOCs in science and engineering is available here).
What tools/software do I need to use RSS?To subscribe to any RSS feeds you first need to install a feedreader on your computer. The growing popularity of RSS as a content delivery mechanism means that there are a variety of desktop and web-based feedreaders available for different platforms and browsers. Sage which works with the Mozilla Firefox browser and Pluck, which is compatible with both Firefox and Internet Explorer are popular and easy to use readers. A comprehensive list of other available feedreaders can be found at RSS Compendium - NewsReaders.
How do I find and subscribe to RSS feeds?Look for the or icons to denote whether a feed is available on a website.
To discover feeds beyond those on your favorite websites try searching FeedFinder from Feedster. You can search by keyword or URL to locate feeds on a particular topic or by a particular organization. Another way to discover feeds is to browse an RSS feed directory, a list of these is available at RSS Compendium - RSS Directories
The feedreader you are using will determine exactly how you subscribe to the feed but many allow you to do this simply be dragging and dropping the RSS icon into your reader.
More information about RSS
- What is RSS? - O'Reilly XML.com
- RSS - Wikipedia
- What is RSS and why should you care? - Amy Gahran
- Introduction to RSS - Webreference.com