What is RSS?

RSS is a Web content syndication format. The acronym stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, depending on who you ask.

Websites that support such simple syndication provide their content in a format that can be read by news aggregator client software. Links to these specifically formatted pages are often referred to as "feeds" due to the dynamic nature of how often they can be updated. A desktop RSS aggregator works by periodically checking on subscribed feeds for new content. When new posts are found, usually a portion of that post such as the title and perhaps a short excerpt from the article are displayed. The full story can be linked to open in a separate web browser, or in some cases in the news aggregator itself.

What is podcasting?

Podcasting works the same way. However, as most RSS feeds deal primarily with text, podcasting is intended for rich media types such as audio, video, digital photos, and more. Moreover, this rich media is often downloaded automatically by podcasting software, again on a periodic schedule. This media can then be played at any given time and often times on a variety of media players, such as an iPod.

How can I benefit from RSS?

If you are a web consumer (i.e. someone who browses the web frequenty), RSS allows you to view a large selection of web content, from multiple sources, quickly and easily.

If you are a web publisher (i.e. someone who creates web sites), RSS allows you to distribute your content updates instantly to consumers, web portals and partner web sites.

What are some other popular educational feeds?

Feed Title RSS Link
The Chronicle of Higher Education XML
Washington Post Education Feed XML

Where can I get more information on RSS?

View the Wikipedia entry.