RSS Feeds - Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center
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RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds

FAQ

What is RSS?

RSS, commonly known as Really Simple Syndication, is a popular method for sharing content without requiring readers to continually visit a Web site to see what's new. RSS feeds contain headlines and links to Web pages which contain additional information. For more information, read this USATODAY.com column by Andrew Kantor: RSS readers keep you up-to-date with your favorite sites.

How can RSS save me time?

RSS makes it possible to receive information updates from your favorite websites, delivered directly to your personal computer. Rather than having to personally visit numerous websites frequently to check for new updates, a software tool called an aggregator or news reader can be used to subscribe to RSS feeds. You can decide how often you would like your news reader to check the feeds you subscribe to for updates. Your news reader displays the various updates you want to see, when you want to see them in one central location.

The following 3 minute video clip explains how RSS can save you time:

How can I receive RSS feeds?

Various desktop and web-based software applications known as aggregators, news readers, or feed readers can retrieve, update, and display RSS feeds from a wide variety of sources. A number of news readers are available to download at not cost, each varying slightly how they look and act. One popular, free, and easy-to-setup RSS feed reader for Windows computers is FeedReader, available to download from: http://www.feedreader.com. Google has compiled a list of news aggregators which you may find helpful in selecting a news reader.

How do I know if a website offers RSS?

RSS feeds are not available from all websites. Those which do offer them employ a variety of indicators to inform visitors of the availability of RSS feeds. Generally, any button or text link that includes "RSS," "XML," or "ATOM" indicates that a feed is available.

Any of these buttons may be used to indicate the availability of RSS feeds on a website:

Sample RSS feed button Sample RSS feed button
Sample RSS feed button Sample RSS feed button
Sample RSS feed button Sample RSS feed button

How do I subscribe to a feed?

1. Click on the feed you wish to subscribe to.

2. Copy and paste the URL for the feed into the address field in your news reader.

That's it! Simply check your news reader regularly to receive updates from the particular Web page you have subscribed to. You can subscribe to as many separate feeds as you wish.

Can I receive new updates to a RSS feed via email?

Yes! Several free services exist which you can sign-up to have new postings to a RSS feed emailed to you. This simplifies the process of receiving updates, as you don't need to check a news aggregator...you simply check your email!

One such easy-to-use service is http://www.feedmyinbox.com. Simply follow these 3 steps once at feedmyinbox.com:

1) Paste the URL for the RSS feed to which you want to subscribe via email and click "submit."

2) Enter your email address and click "subscribe."

3) Check your email to see the confirmation email you received and click the link to confirm your subscription.

You will then have successfully subscribed to the particular RSS feed via email. Once subscribed, you can expect to receive new updates to a feed within 1 day after they are posted.