What is RSS?

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, blogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

Benefits of using RSS
RSS is similar to having your own personal new clipping service which retrieves the latest content from sites you are interested in. By subscribing to various feeds you save time by not needing to visit each site individually. The number of sites offering RSS feeds has grown rapidly and most major online publishers now offer it. The New York Times for example offers multiple feeds that you can subscribe to. Each one provides updates on different sections of the newspaper. Another benefit of RSS feeds is that it ensures your privacy since you don’t provide an email address to subscribe.

How do I read an RSS Feed?
The first step is to download a feed reader which allows you read the various RSS feeds you have subscribed to (choose from the various readers in the next section). Next go to one of your favorite web sites and look for the following symbol . Right click on the symbol, select ‘copy shortcut’ from the menu and then paste it into your reader.

What are some examples of Feed Readers I can use?
A variety of RSS Readers are available for different platforms. Some popular feed readers include Amphetadesk (Windows, Linux, Mac), FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows – integrates with Outlook). There are also a number of web-based feed readers available. My YahooBloglines, and Google Reader are popular web-based feed readers.

Once you have your Feed Reader, it is simply a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available.

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