"RSS (most commonly translated as "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") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. Web feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator", which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. A standardized XML file format allows the information to be published once and viewed by many different programs. The user subscribes to a feed by entering into the reader the feed's URI or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process. The RSS reader checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds."
Burks recorded an introduction to RSS as part of the IEEE Education Society's Distinguished Lecture Series in January 2006. View the presentation online at:
[Note: If you have difficulty viewing the presentation, try using a different browser.]
Ray has a great blog about the power of RSS at:
To illustrate what one can do with RSS, the "assignment" for the Sloan-C online workshop is to subscribe to a blog using an RSS feed aggregator. In particular, subscribe to Ray's Online Learning Update (OLU) blog at:
Go to this blog at the URL shown above. Then click on the little RSS logo on the panel at the left of the window:
This will take you to a new page, where you will have the option of subscribing to the RSS feed using Google Reader, or simply viewing the RSS feed in iGoogle:
If you decide to add it to Google Reader, then it will be available at:
as shown in the following screen:
Of course, if you are a big user of iGoogle, then you probably will want to display the RSS feed right on your iGoogle page.
You should subscribe to other RSS feeds as well - it is a great way to create your own customized information source!