Understanding & Using RSS Feeds
What is an RSS feed?
RSS feeds are a news syndication device (“Really Simple Syndication”) that allows a person with an RSS reader to gather current news items from multiple websites, scan headlines and open only those articles that appear to be of interest.
By selecting RSS feeds in areas of your special interests, you can gather a great deal of news from a great many sources in a very short time.
You can also stay current on news postings to websites that are of particular interest to you. VideoUniversity.com has launched its own RSS feeds. (Our feed is at http://videouniversity.com/rss.xml)
Why use RSS feeds?
New information from “old” websites
By using an RSS reader you can track new postings at websites you have already identified as being useful to you.
For example, we’re constantly adding new articles and products to VideoUniversity, but it can be easy to miss them if you’re as busy as most of us. So instead of picking through the VideoUniversity web site every day or so; you could simply add the VideoUniversity RSS channel to your RSS reader and when we announce a new article or product, you will be flagged — automatically — by your RSS reader. Unlike email, you completely control the news feed.
“Aggregated” updates from all over the internet
By selecting news channels of interest to you, your RSS reader can act as your morning newspaper. Open it in the morning (or whenever!) and all the news you are looking for (including any new articles from VideoUniversity.com) would be right there, waiting for you!
RSS and spam filters
Today almost every internet user — yourself included, no doubt — uses some sort of spam filtering to weed out, as best as possible, unwanted e-mail.
But spam filters can be tricky. They can block newsletters you wanted to receive and, in some cases, we have seen them block important business messages.
An RSS reader helps you overcome the problem of deciding how to filter out junk and how to protect that which is important. Instead of the website sending YOU information, your RSS reader goes to the website to get the latest news.
You can stop receiving news from any RSS feed any time you want. If a feed becomes trashy or no longer relevant to you, you simply delete it from the incoming news feeds your RSS reader picks up. Compare this to unsubscribing to an email newsletter.
RSS readers retain your privacy. The websites you are receiving RSS feeds from never know your name and you do not have to give out your e-mail in order to receive their news!
How do I read an RSS feed?
To read an RSS feed you need an RSS reader.
By registering with Bloglines (free) you gain access to their online reader. No need to pay anything; no need to install new software on your computer. The only requirement is that you give up your e-mail to Bloglines under their promise not to abuse it.
Using the Bloglines RSS reader can be convenient if you are on the go a lot and need to stay current with news in various categories. You can access the Bloglines reader from any computer connected to the internet including pda’s and smartphones.
Alternatively you can install an RSS reader on your computer. Awasu offers a free RSS reader that can have you reading RSS feeds from your favorite news sources in less than 20 minutes.
FeedDemon, from Bradbury Software, offers a full featured RSS reader that WILL allow you to access both public and private RSS feeds. FeedDemon can be downloaded, free, for a 20-day trial period, after which a $29.95 registration fee is required.
Where can I get more information about RSS feeds?
Here are some helpful web references that will help you learn more about RSS feeds, how to read them and (even!) how to create them!
- Fagan Finder – For non-technical people new to RSS
- Reuters News Service
Reuters offers information about using RSS feeds as well as many topic-specific RSS feeds of their own.
- Understanding RSS Feeds
From the FeedsForAll.com website. FeedsForAll offers software to create RSS feeds on a website such as ours.
- Steps to Creating RSS Feeds
Written by a web developer for small to medium sized web businesses. All of it is practical and can be used by the individual website operator.
- Step by Step Make RSS Feeds
Information on creating RSS feeds for your own website.
- RDF Rich Site Summary (RSS)
Technical background and history of RSS Feeds.
Who Provides RSS Software?
RSS Feed Readers
This is a web based reader that doesn not require you to download anything. You can use the Bloglines RSS reader simply by registering your e-mail with them and selecting a password. The process is painless.
Yahoo has embraced RSS is a big way. You can subscribe to RSS feeds and read them on your MY Yahoo Page.
Awasu offers an excellent, free, stand-alone RSS reader.
A full featured RSS reader available to 20 day evaluation by free download. After the 20 day trial period is up, a $29.95 registration fee is required.
- For FireFox Users, there is Sage, a lightweight reader which integrates with Firefox’s bookmark storage and Live Bookmarks.
Create Your Own RSS Feed!
We used FeedForAll to create our RSS feeds. FeedForAll is available free for 30 days, then a $39.95 registration fee is required. We found it extremely easy to use and it encouraged us to pursue the use of the RSS feeds at our website.
Where do I find RSS feeds?
At VideoUniversity.com you’ll find RSS feeds at http://www.VideoUniversity.com/rss.xml
To find other RSS feeds, try these sources:
- RSS Network
A directory of RSS feeds grouped by interest.
RSS feeds grouped by interest category.