RSS Presentation

What is RSS?:

RSS and Atom are both versions of an XML script that syndicates the content of a website and pushes it to those who subscribe using an aggregator or news reader. This is called a “feed.” RSS doesn’t really stand for anything special, either “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication.” Atom is just another type of feed.

What’s the big deal?

The benefit of using and providing RSS feeds for content is that it pushes new information to you, rather than you having to go look for it. Instead of visiting several webpages a day for your comics, news, casual reading, work, etc., you can simply visit your aggregator and see if there’s anything new. It saves users the trouble of having to check for new content on a regular basis.

How do you use it?:

You sign up for a news aggregator, and then subscribe to the feeds of your choice. Some feed readers, such as Bloglines and Google Reader allow you to have bookmarks and browser buttons to aid in subscribing while surfing.

Pages like MyYahoo and Netvibes allow you to add feeds as well.

RSS Examples:

Library Examples (Academic, public, etc)

Notable Feeds

Reading List:


Best Practices for RSS Feed Publishers:

  • Don’t offer multiple feed versions
  • Don’t offer multiple “subscribe” buttons
  • Use the common feed icon
  • Make RSS easy for your users to “get”—explain what the icon does!
  • Don’t “bury” your feed(s)!
  • Tell your users & other visitors what they can do with your feed- e.g. McMaster University Libraries


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