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Getting Started with RSS feeds

by Andrea Ryce, NLM Fellow
UW Health Sciences Library

I attempted to explain the intricacies of RSS feeds in ten minutes or less at the Washington Medical Librarians Association (WMLA) meeting on April 1st, but I think I fell short of providing anything of actual use. Following is an excellent introduction to RSS feeds and how to use them, courtesy of the Community of Science:

“RSS feeds are an easy and efficient way to keep up with news and other recurring information from your favorite online sources. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an XML-based format that enables online publishers to distribute (or ‘syndicate’) their information, and it enables users to easily collect information from several sources in one central location. The two most typical uses for RSS are news and web logs (blogs).

RSS feeds are viewed through programs known as RSS aggregators or news aggregators, such as the online aggregator Bloglines. This is a free tool which requires account sign-up.

By adding RSS feeds to your own news aggregator, you essentially create your own electronic newspaper, with feeds from whichever publishers you choose like the BBC, The New York Times, ESPN and COS Funding News. These feeds are then automatically updated when new information is published.”
Based on http://fundingopps.cos.com/news/instruction.html

I have only begun the RSS adventure myself, but I would be happy to share my knowledge and experiences with anyone interested. You can contact me at rycea@u.washington.edu. Happy RSS’ing!

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