Describing RSS

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Becoming an RSS "supporter" will enhance your experience of the Web.

What is RSS?

RSS is a notification system that alerts you when updates are made to your favourite web sites[1] which provide an RSS feed. It allows content to be sent to your computer without you having to search for it by visiting an actual website. This is particularly useful for websites which update content regularly, for example blogs or news lists.

How does RSS work?

RSS uses a standardised web format which RSS readers and other software can interpret. This standard XML format can include, for instance, the title, the author, date and time published, the website URL, and the text of the notification. Users can subscribe to websites which provide an RSS feed typically indicated by one of the following icons: Rss-feed.svg; RSS icon.svg; XML icon.svg; or a "subscribe to RSS" link.

An RSS feed reader, or sometimes called an RSS aggregator, is a software program which operates in the background and automatically checks for new content posted on the websites to which you have subscribed. When something new is posted to the site you’re subscribed to, the notification gets sent to your feed reader immediately. In this way, information comes to your computer rather than having to visit the source website.


Wikipedia svg logo-en.svg  Web syndication
Web syndication is a form of syndication in which website material is made available to multiple other sites. Most commonly, web syndication refers to making web feeds available from a site in order to provide other people with a summary or update of the website's recently added content (for example, the latest news or forum posts).

This extract is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. It uses material from the article "Web syndication", retrieved 03 03 2013.

Wikipedia svg logo-en.svg  RSS
RSS Rich Site Summary (often called Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a "feed" or "web feed") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship.

This extract is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. It uses material from the article "RSS", retrieved 03 03 2013.

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Web Resources

For more information on RSS, you can visit the following sites:


  1. Prindle, D. 2012. How to use RSS feeds.