If you are active in the online community, whether it is developing content or just browsing your favorite site, you probably have run into the term “RSS.” But what does RSS really mean?
RSS is a term that stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Without getting into too much technical detail, it involves condensing the headlines of a website into XML so that it can be read by websites or other RSS readers. Wait, I did say no technical detail… RSS feeds allow the user to easily access information without needing to visit every website. Essentially, RSS feeds make it possible for the news to come to you, rather than you going to the news. This format of web-browsing began in the late 1990’s and have become one of the most popular ways for individuals to attain information. Personally, I use RSS feeds to read up on local and national news, as well as blogs, sports, technology, etc. I have substituted watching the evening news with following RSS feeds.
There are many different websites and computer programs which allow users to follow RSS feeds. The most common RSS reader is the Google Reader. If you are a user of Gmail, Google Calendar, etc., then you already have an account set up. Visit http://www.google.com/reader to get started. Here are some other RSS readers that you may want to try out:
Subscribing to an RSS feed
To subscribe to your favorite website’s RSS feed, look for the common RSS logo. Most sites have this logo on the homepage, however the websites which have multiple RSS categories, such as a newspaper, may have a specific page for RSS links.
An example of the RSS feeds being available on a seperate webpage.
Once you have found the feed that you’d like to add to your reader, you can click one of the provided links which will automatically add the RSS to your reader. If you are using a non-web-based reader, such as a computer program, you can copy the URL of the feed and paste it into your reader.
Once you have added feeds to your RSS reader, the reader will automatically update with the latest headlines for your viewing. Depending on the reader that you are using, you can categorize the feeds into folders, mark specific headlines to read at a later time, email headlines to others, etc.
If you have questions about using RSS feeds, contact an instructional designer at your campus.