(Really Simple Syndication)
(Rich Site Summary)
RSS is a standard distribution format for publishing regular updates to
web content simultaneously in more than one location. The content
tends to be “headlines” rather than extensive content.
The benefit of RSS
One can subscribe to a few trusted sources of information, and then any
new content from those sources is delivered to a reader called an
aggregator, or to a website. The researcher finds all of the new content
from the various sources in one place.
Who has RSS
Most RSS feeds are from blogs and news, but there are some from
directories and the number of feeds is increasing. Some academic
journals are publishing RSS feeds of their tables of contents and articles,
such as the Journal of Theological Studies from Oxford Journals.
How to RSS
There is a list of aggregator software, some of which is free, at the RSS
Compendium site, http://allrss.com/rssreaders.html.
An RSS feed reader may be downloaded and installed. There are also
free Web services, such as Bloglines, MyYahoo, and Google Reader which
do not require the user to download and install software. The difference
is fewer features and slightly slower performance for the Web services vs.
If you want to read your feeds on the computers in the library
computer lab, you’ll need to use on of the web services listed above.
You can find out if your favorite research site offers an RSS feed by
looking for a small rectangular orange or blue or icon, or just
the word RSS or XML usually located on the left or right side of the page.
To subscribe, users can right click the icon or word, select Copy
Shortcut, and paste the resulting address into their reader or RSS Web
Some blogs or news sites will have lists of services to which their feed
can be added automatically. You’ll see icons for each service available.
Just click on the button for the service to which you subscribe.
There are RSS directories such as www.rssfeeds.com to help in locating
feeds. If a user doesn’t want to choose his/her own feeds, there are
Websites that serve as aggregators of RSS feeds, such as NewsIsFree
http://www.newsisfree.com, and DayPop www.daypop.com.
Benefits of using RSS feeds:
• Efficiency -- news and information is automatically there when you
• Breadth -- content from the web sources you care about are
• Organization -- sources can be displayed in order of importance
with the latest news on top.
• Productivity -- email newsletter subscriptions and bookmarks can
lead to clutter and information overload.