Site feeds are also known as RSS feeds. RSS can stand for Rich Site Summary, Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary, depending upon whom you ask. RSS has come to refer to any of several types of web files used primarily by blogs, news sites and other frequently updated web pages. RSS feeds are created with XML coding, which is why they are sometimes referred to as XML feeds.
The availability of a feed is usually indicated on web pages with a or other small graphic like you see on this page, or with a "Syndicate this site" or "RSS" link. Thanks to RSS feeds, it is possible for you to stay current with news items and blog postings from dozens or hundreds of sites without having to visit each of those sites repeatedly to find out if it has been updated.
RSS feeds are not meant to be read using a web browser. You read them with a special program called a news aggregator or feed reader. Aggregators and readers include programs loaded onto your computer, such as FeedDemon, or websites, such as My Yahoo! and Bloglines. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds by email, using services such as RMail or FeedBlitz.
Using the aggregator or reader of your choice, you subscribe to RSS feeds for the websites and blogs that interest you. When those sites and blogs are updated, their RSS feeds are also automatically updated with headlines and sometimes with excerpts or full-text. The aggregator or reader automatically checks those feeds for updates, collects the new information, and organizes and displays it in reverse chronological order. Simply by checking your aggregator for new items, you can check new information from many sources in a matter of minutes.
To learn how to subscribe to feeds using Bloglines, read Using Bloglines to Manage Your Blogs and News Feeds.
For more information on RSS:
- What is RSS? A basic tutorial introduction to RSS feeds and aggregators for non-technical people from Software Garden, Inc.
- Cindy L. Chick, RSS Tutorial: What Is RSS?, part 1 of a six-part series at LawLibTech.
- Robert J. Ambrogi, What RSS Can Do for Lawyers, an article from Law Technology News, a Law.com newsletter.
- Larry Magid, RSS: The Web at Your Fingertips, an internet solution from PC Magazine.
- Valerie Potter, Getting Started With RSS, an article from InformationWeek.
- Mitch Wagner, I Came, I Saw, I RSS'd, a story from TechWeb.
- Alex Barnett, Using RSS 101, a 9-minute online demonstration of how to download and use FeedDemon, as well as how to subscribe to RSS feeds.
- Genie Tyburski, Finding News Faster, an internet research presentation from The Virtual Chase.