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Simplify Your Life and Save Time by Subscribing to RSS Feeds

By Claudia Lynch, Benchmarks Online Editor

The wikipedia entry for RSS begins:

RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document, which is called a "feed," "web feed," or "channel," contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that's easier than checking them manually.

RSS content can be read using software called an "RSS reader," "feed reader" or an "aggregator." The user subscribes to a feed by entering the feed's link into the reader or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process. The reader checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new content, downloading any updates that it finds.

Clear as mud? If not keep reading.

RSS in Plain English

The folks at Common Craft have created this handy video to help people understand RSS better. As they say, "There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start."



Now that you "get" the concept of RSS, you'll start to notice the symbols for RSS feeds everywhere. Like anything else, of course, you need to be judicious in your subscriptions. Subscribing to RSS feeds doesn't free you completely from information overload. It just comes in a new format. According to the article Of course, you know what RSS is ... so here's an article for your clueless boss, written back in 2005, "Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble claims to consume 500 or more information sources on a daily basis, something no human could do without using an RSS reader." That was back in 2005. He now claims to consume 622 feeds but was up to, apparently, 1,400 feeds a day at one time. How does he do it? See the article How Scoble Reads 622 RSS Feeds Each Morning for answers to that question and more.

Further reading on RSS

Below are some more introductory articles on RSS, if you feel like you need more information:


Originally published, November 2007 -- Please note that information published in Benchmarks Online is likely to degrade over time, especially links to various Websites. To make sure you have the most current information on a specific topic, it may be best to search the UNT Website - . You can also search Benchmarks Online - as well as consult the UNT Helpdesk - Questions and comments should be directed to


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