Skip to main content

What are RSS Feeds?

This site allows you to subscribe to information updates via an RSS feed. There is some discussion as to what RSS stands for, but most people use 'Really Simple Syndication'. In essence, the feeds themselves are just web pages designed to be read by computers rather than people that you can subscribe to using an RSS reader.

When you subscribe to an RSS feed, your reader fetches everything on the feed whenever we post new information and make updates to existing information.

How do I start using RSS feeds?

The first thing you need is an RSS reader. This is a piece of software that checks the feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added. There are many different versions, some of which are accessed using a browser, and some of which are downloadable applications.

Browser-based RSS readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, whereas some specialized RSS reader applications let you store the RSS feeds on your main computer, in the same way that you download your e-mail using Outlook or keep it on a web-based service like Gmail.

Once you have chosen a RSS reader, all you have to do is to decide what content you want it to receive. If you click on the RSS  button you can subscribe to the feed in various ways, including by dragging the URL of the feed into your reader or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your reader.

Here RSS is explained in an engaging video by commoncraft: RSS in Plain English.

How do I get a news reader?

Most newer browsers include an RSS reader. If you are using an older browser, updating to a newer version will get you an RSS reader as a bonus.

There are many other RSS readers available and new versions are appearing all the time. Different RSS readers work on different operating systems, so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer.