When talking to a friend about the LEARNLONG BLOG, I mentioned how our postings can be taken through RSS which sparked the title. The look of confusion was beyond words. Yet, I realized that this gaze is rather common to anyone new to RSS feeds (even those like me who may understand what RSS does, but wouldn’t teach a class) .
So I’m taking on the challenge of explaining how RSS really works, in practice at least, and what’s available for anyone interested in trying it out.
To start, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It allows websites to transfer information that eventually “feeds into” your own computer or cell phone, which are called RSS Feeds. Of course, there are more complex coding and installations involved, but we don’t care how the digital sausage is made right now, do we? Exactly!
In fact, probably your internet browser has this icon on its tool bar just like when you add favorites. By the way, one quick tip: You can tell if a website or blog offers RSS feeds-the icon actually lights!
Simply stated, the purpose of receiving RSS feeds is to get current, up-to-the-minute info and alerts in all the areas that interests you. Doing it the old-fashioned way would take several annual subscriptions from paper newspapers, magazines, newsletters across all disciplines, local, regional, national, and around the world just to keep up: That’s just too costly and very time-consuming.
RSS feeds are a way to have the essential information and content that interests you, all-in-one page, even your very own home page if you prefer, especially the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Fox.
You simply click on the orange icon, subscribe to receive the information and that’s it!
The question left becomes where do you want to receive your RSS feeds and through what online service? Your internet browser can collect feeds or you can use other services below. Most of these are free to download, register, and set-up, so I cheer you on to click any link to one and test it out. Even if you may have a Google or Yahoo! Account, which many do, I am sure you can take this opportunity to structure your feeds that saves you time and money.
Here is a list of Six (6) other RSS Feeds “Readers” for starters:
Free to subscribe:
My Yahoo!: my.yahoo.com
Bloglines is also a free online service. As the service suggests, there is no software to download or install, simply register as a new user and begin accessing your account at any time, from any computer or mobile device.
Others RSS Feed Readers (some costs apply)
Feed Demon: http://www.newsgator.com/individuals/feeddemon/ -Under the larger Newsgator used by enterprises but they offer easy-to-use interface with a free download.
NetNewsWire (reader of choice for Macs): http://www.newsgator.com/INDIVIDUALS/NETNEWSWIRE/ -Also under Newsgator.
Awasu: http://www.awasu.com/ -There are personal, professional, and advanced editions available.
Reference: Shaw, Maura D. (2007). Mastering Online Research: A Comprehensive Guide to Effective and Efficient Search Strategies. Writers Digests Books.