Web Wednesday: RSS

Web Wednesday: RSS – Get All of Your Online News in One Place

From Information Resources and Technologies

Do you feel like you have information overload? Can’t keep up? Would you like to have all the news, events, and announcements from all your favorite Web sites, Blogs, and Podcasts automatically delivered to you in one convenient place? With RSS Really Simple Syndication you can.

RSS is a format for syndicating (publishing simultaneously) and subscribing to a variety of Web-based news and information sources. Thousands of Web sites worldwide and a growing number of UST Web sites now offer RSS feeds of their most popular content. RSS gives you the option to subscribe to specific topics that are of interest to you.

How RSS works
Web site publishers syndicate a Web feed, thereby allowing users to subscribe to it,  making a collection of Web feeds accessible in one spot.

RSS subscribers use programs called feed "readers" or "aggregators."  An aggregator or feed retrieves syndicated Web content from Web blogs, podcasts, and mainstream mass media Web sites based on the topics you have selected.

How to identify sites that offer RSS subscription feeds
Most sites that publish RSS feeds identify those feeds in one of several standard ways. On the site, look near the bottom of page for something similar:

Or the RSS logo:


These graphic links typically lead to a page that contains a comprehensive list of all the RSS feeds that the Web site offers.

How to read your subscriptions
Before you begin subscribing to RSS feeds, you need to make sure you have a place to read those subscriptions. Subscribers have several options for reading news.

  • A Web-based aggregator, search aggregator or feed reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines.
  • A desktop RSS news reader or aggregator, available for both Windows and Macintosh, such as FeedReader and Vienna.
  • A customizable personal portal, such as my.yahoo.com or Google Personalized Home.
  • An RSS-enabled browser, such as Safari or Firefox 2.0 or an RSS browser plug-in, such as Pluck for IE and Firefox.

Which application you use to read news feeds is up to you. Many people use multiple readers for multiple reasons.

How to subscribe to an RSS feed
Once you have selected and set up your portal, news reader, or an RSS-enabled browser, you can subscribe to any RSS feed in a number of ways. You can:

  • On the RSS listing page, drag the orange RSS button for the item you’re interested in into your News Reader.
  • On the RSS details page, drag the URL of the RSS feed into your News Reader.
  • On the RSS details, cut and paste the URL of the RSS feed into your News Reader.

Note: If you use My Yahoo or other Web portal sites to read your subscriptions, please follow the procedures described on those sites to subscribe to a feed. Look for text similar to, "Add RSS by URL."

Public Web sites that publish RSS feeds include news sites such as, Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, Chronicle of Education, New York Times, BBC, CNN; sports sites, such as ESPN, NBA; and Travel sites; Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia. For a directory of RSS Feeds, visit https://www.syndic8.com/feedcat.php.

Which UST sites offer RSS Feeds?
Web sites at St. Thomas that publish RSS feeds include: The Bulletin Today (available from the UST home page), IRT News and soon many more. As sites are migrated into Collage, selected portions of UST sites created with Collage will be able to create News feeds.

As always, if you have questions about new technologies, contact your Academic Technology Consultant/Administrative CORE Consultant or the IRT Tech Desk, (651) 962-6230.