RSS: What it is, Where to get it,
How to make it,
How to use it
If you find yourself going to multiple Web sites every day checking for updated news, Blogs, and other content, RSS can make your life easier. If your favorite sites make their content available as "RSS feeds" — and thousands of sites do — you can check them all at once using an aggregator.
If you have your own Web site, you can publish an RSS feed or republish other sites' feeds. Because it is an application of XML, news items from RSS feeds (or channels) can be sliced and diced easily. (RSS might stand for "Really Simple Syndication," "Rich Site Summary," or "RDF Site Summary." Don't worry about that, though.)
Introduction: What is RSS?
- Getting Started with RSS: The No-Brainer Method - If RSS hasn't made sense yet, Karen Schneider's directions will "get you from baffled to 'ah hah' in less than fifteen minutes." (Free Range Librarian)
- Blogs and News Aggregators without the Aggravation (and Only a Little Serendipity) (Morgan Wilson, explodedlibrary.info)
- Explanation of RSS, How You Can Use It, and Finding RSS Feeds (Fagan Finder)
- Introduction to RSS (Webreference)
- News That Comes to You by J. D. Lasica (Online Journalism Review)
- RSS for Non-Techie Librarians by Stephen Cohen
- RSS: Your Gateway to News & Blog Content by Danny Sullivan (Search Engine Watch)
- What is RSS? by Mark Pilgrim (XML.com)
- Why RSS? Why blogs? Why? Why? Why? by Geoff Harder (Blog Driver's Waltz)
The following are some good, basic introductions.
Where to Find RSS Feeds
- Searching RSS Channels for News (Utah State Library)
- BlogStreet RSS Discovery - Find RSS feeds of blogs
- Moreover.com category list
- News Is Free
- RSS Feeds.com - Arranged in an Open Directory-style hierarchy
- Top 100 Most-Subscribed-To RSS Feeds (UserLand)
- RSS Top 55 - Many more than 55 RSS directories
- BlogDigger - Searches blogs with its "RSS Kicker" engine
- Rocket News - News sources, government, business, etc.
- Taglines - Various news feeds are analyzed and keywords extracted. Interesting way to look at the day's news.
- RSSify (Wytheville Community College, formerly at Voidstar)
Look for these icons at your favorite sites:
Directories of Feeds
Directory of Directories
RSS Search Engines
These services search the content of RSS feeds, not just their names and descriptions.
If your favorite site doesn't have an RSS feed, you can get it "scraped" (i.e., converted to RSS) at one of these sites.
How to Read RSS Feeds
- By using an RSS reader program that you download to your own computer (client software), or
- Through customizable Web sites that collect and disseminate (aggregate) them
- In your e-mail application
- Ampheta Desk - Puts feeds in your browser
- Awasu - My favorite, so far
- Feed Demon
- Feed Reader
- Feedly - Available as a browser extension or mobile app
- Headline Viewer
- News 360 - iPhone/iPad app that attempts to learn what the user likes
- News Gator - Integrates with Microsoft Outlook
- Radio UserLand
- Wildgrape NewsDesk
- Bloglines - Specializing in blogs, naturally
- Digg Reader
- Fyuze - Sign up and see what's new on your favorite sites
- My Yahoo - Lets you add RSS feeds to your custom page
- News Is Free - Register and make a customized page of feeds
- Rocket RSS Reader (RocketNews)
- Mobile RSS
- RSS Feed Reader/News Aggregators Directory (Hebig.org)
- RSS Readers (Abbe Normal Weblog)
- RSS Readers (Blogspace)
- RSS Compendium (Peter Scott)
You can read RSS feeds:
Both the downloadable programs and Web sites are sometimes called "aggregators." (Purists apply the term only to Web sites that aggregate RSS feeds.)
RSS Reader Software to Download
Many of these programs have interfaces that look like the leading e-mail programs. Some of this software is free, but some costs ~U.S. $25
If you're already using Blog software, check to see if you can use it to read RSS feeds.
Web Directories of RSS Software
RSS by E-mail
How to Publish Your RSS Feed
- Blog software. Some programs will produce an RSS file of your blog
- Creating RSS Files for Your Web Site (Webreference)
- Making an RSS Feed (Search Engine Watch)
- RSS - A Primer for Publishers & Content Providers (EEVL)
- RSS Tutorial for Content Publishers and Webmasters by Mark Nottingham
- Feed Validator for RSS and Atom
- RSS Validator (UserLand)
- Experimental Online RSS 1.0 Validator
These tutorials will tell you how to produce an RSS feed of your content, either manually or with special software. Another option is to use one of the scraping services listed above.
Test your RSS against a validator to make sure it's well-formed XML.
Promote Your Feed
Promote your feed to all the major directories of RSS feeds.
How to Use Syndicated RSS Feeds on Your Web Site
- RSS Parsing Programs (Utah State Library)
- Carp and Jawfish
- Feed2JS - By Alan Levine, who wrote the original feed translator at Maricopa College
- Feed Informer - Generate code based on one feed, two or more feeds, or a keyword (formerly RSS Digest and Feed Digest)
- Feedostyle - Claims to be the most stylish
- Feedroll - The free service now apparently works with a few preselected feeds only
- Grazr - Lets you put a whole group of feeds in a widget on your page
- Using RSS News Feeds - Provides a Perl script called rss2html.pl (Webreference)
- Feed Informer
- RSSMix - "Mix any number of RSS feeds into one unique new feed"
- xFruits - Lets you combine RSS feeds and do many other things with them
- Yahoo Pipes
- RSS Re-mixers (RSS Compendium)
These services let you mix two or more RSS feeds into one.
RSS Re-mixers Directory:
More About RSS (and Atom)
- RSS Compendium [allrss.com]
- RSS DevCenter (O'Reilly Network)
- RSS FAQ (UKOLN)
- RSS FAQ (Voidstar)
- RSS Info - Readers, tools, resources (Blogspace)
- RSS Resources (Larkfarm)
- RSS Resources (Peter Scott's RSS Compendium)
- RSS Workshop: Publish and Syndicate Your News to the Web - A detailed tutorial (Utah State Library)
- Webreference: RSS
- RSS 0.91 (UserLand)
- RSS 0.92 (UserLand)
- RSS 1.0 (RSS-Dev Working Group)
- RSS 2.0 (UserLand)
- Atom Enabled is a good introduction
- Atom-to-RSS - Translates an Atom feed to RSS. Useful if your RSS reader can't handle Atom feeds yet. (2RSS.com)
- Specification: Atom Syndication Format 0.3 (Pre-draft by Mark Nottingham)
Confused? See What is RSS? for a handy chart of RSS versions
A newer file format that may replace RSS (and give us one good standard).