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RSS Feeds / Podcasts
RSS feeds & podcasts
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What are RSS Feeds?

RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, enables web publishers to distribute their content and for users to easily gather that content.  RSS makes it possible for you to subscribe to some or all of a website’s content and have that content automatically delivered as text, audio or video.

 

To get syndicated content, you need two things: a reader and a feed. Here are 3 simple steps:
 
  1. Pick an RSS reader and configure it like you'd set up any other application or web site service (readers below).
  2. Find feeds you like and subscribe to them. Look for the orange XML and RSS buttons on sites you like.
  3. Return to your reader daily instead of going to the sites you've subscribed to.

 

What is a reader?

An RSS reader can be:

 

  • A web site that you go to every day to read your stories, like bloglines.com
  • A part of your web browser – Firefox’s Live Bookmarks feature automatically keeps track of RSS updates for you, so you always know when new content has been added to your favorite sites. Instead of constantly checking Web pages for changes and additions, a Live Bookmark delivers updates to you as soon as they are available. If you use Safari, you can click on RSS links and see the feeds within the browser itself.
  • A separate standalone application that lives on your computer, or PDA device like RSS Bandit.
  • Or a plug-in or add-on to a piece of software you already have.


It doesn't really matter which kind you pick. Each of these work a little differently and have different feature sets, but at heart, they are all designed to do the same thing: You use an "add" or "subscribe" button to choose to receive a site's content via RSS, and then check back later to see what that site has published.


From then on, every time you check your RSS reader, you see all of the stories that site has published, but in more minimal form. Often, you'll just see titles, dates, and a couple of lines of text representing each story. You click the titles to see the full story.

 

What about video and video podcasts?

A video podcast is similar to an RSS feed, except instead of having headlines delivered to you, a video podcast is automatically downloaded as soon as it is released. For example, if you subscribe to the Mosaic podcast through iTunes, each time a new episode comes out, it will automatically be downloaded to your iTunes library.


In addition to the iTunes feed above, Link TV programs are available on a number of other online video platforms, like YouTube, the Open Media NetworkMiro, and more soon to come!
 

RSS Readers

Newer browsers may have a built-in reader; e.g. Firefox. In addition, here is a list of readers available for download:
 
  • AmphetaDesk (cross platform, open-sourced, syndicated news aggregator)
  • NetNewsWire (Mac OS X RSS news reader which uses a three-paned interface to display web sites and their news)
  • NewsGator Inbox (RSS "News Aggregator" that runs in MS Outlook )
  • NewsMonster (Mozilla browser-based java plug-in)
  • Pluck (Browser-based news reader, runs in Internet Explorer)
  • Radio Userland (weblog tool that builds a site, organizes and archives posts, and publishes content.)
  • RSS Reader (For windows, reads RSS & Atom)
  • And more (Great “Blogspace” listing of RSS readers. Or for a list of options in RSS readers, visit allrss.com.

 

Why use RSS feeds?

If you read a lot of different web sites every day, or even just a few, RSS can enable faster scanning of information by boiling content down to key metadata such as “headlines”. RSS can also serve as a SPAM-free alternative to email-based content distribution. Sites that offer RSS feeds usually provide you a link called "rss" or "xml" and/or use the RSS link example or XML link example icons.