RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a convenient way to keep up with new content on your favorite website. Instead of having to click through the various sections of CincinnatiLibrary.org to see what’s new, you can have that information pushed directly to your computer! RSS has been adopted by many news services (The New York Times, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, etc.), blogs, and other commercial sites (Apple, ESPN, Orbitz, People, Salon, Yahoo!, eBay, etc.). Even the government has embraced RSS.
Without going into a lot of technical detail, RSS is an application of XML (eXtensible Markup Language), which is why you’ll sometimes see the availability of feeds represented by . An item in an RSS feed usually contains a headline, an excerpt of the story, and a link to the full story.
To take advantage of the convenience of RSS, you’ll need a special piece of software (called a “newsreader” or “aggregator”) to collect, organize, and display all your feeds.
A variety of free and commercial readers are available. Some (such as Bloglines, Google Reader, NetVibes, and My Yahoo) are web-based, others (such as AmphetaDesk, or NetNewsWire for Macs) have to be downloaded to your computer. Some browsers, such as Firefox and Safari, offer integrated feed readers. An exhaustive list of RSS readers is available on the Open Directory Project.
Once you’ve found a newsreader that you’re comfortable using; you’re ready to go! To subscribe to our feeds, right-click on any of the links in the left-hand sidebar on this page, select “copy shortcut,” and then paste the URL (as directed) into your newsreader.
Finding RSS feeds
Look around on some of your favorite blogs or websites for these buttons
(, , or ) or the phrase “RSS Feeds.”
A few sites that offer directories of feeds:
Any of the following sites are good resources to consult for an overview of RSS:
- RSS in Plain English video
- Pssss…Have You Heard About RSS?
- PC World: News on Demand
- USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review: News That Comes to You
WebReference.com (which caters to those with an interest in the “techie” side of things) offers links to articles, tutorials, tools, software, and validators.