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RSS Feeds & Readers

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. It is a way to stay updated on information by receiving automatic updates from web content rather than having to visit websites. This video explains what RSS feeds do and why this technology is useful.

RSS feeds are available for many different websites including news, sports, entertainment, and education. Within the academic setting, bibliographic databases available at libraries provide RSS feeds so researchers can be alerted when new information is available about their specific research interests.

The standard RSS symbol looks as follows:  

Click on the symbol to access the feed URL, which can then be pasted into the "Add Feeds" section of a feed reader.

RSS Readers

Most people use an RSS reader to receive, read, and manage the information sent to them. There are several readers available. Some of the recommended options are:

All of the readers are free and function for in-browser use. Feedly is probably the most popular reader because it functions within a browser, has a browser add-on, and has an app for a mobile device. Newsblur also has an app. CommaFeed has a browser add-on and has a mobile-accessible website. So do The Old Reader and NetVibes. The last two are news aggregators that have an option to import RSS feeds. This library guide from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explains the differences between the different readers.
Using a news aggregator is not a requirement.