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What Is RSS?
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an XML-based Web content syndication format. RSS provides a way for web sites to distribute constantly updated headline feeds to individuals and other organizations (such as the ABC News headlines on ITS StartCenter). Thousands of organizations use RSS, such as the New York Times, MSNBC, BusinessWeek, NPR, many government agencies, the Wall Street Journal ...and ITS! And RSS is gaining popularity...the Times reportedly saw a 342% increase in RSS traffic (5.9 million page views) between March 2005 and March 2004.
Our RSS feed delivers headlines and descriptions of the most current articles on our web site straight to your desktop. It's an easy way for you to find out when content that interests you appears on TeamITS.com.
To use RSS, you will need a special RSS news reader (a.k.a. aggregator) that will allow you to collect and display RSS feeds. Many readers are available, and most are free. In fact, the latest versions of both Firefox and Internet Explorer include RSS feed capabilities. You'll find several options to choose from below. Once you set up a news feed, it updates itself automatically! There are two steps: 1) find the address of the feed, and 2) add it to your reader.
To add ITS's RSS feed to your RSS reader, look for the orange RSS/XML image to the right. The button points directly to our site's RSS file. The file itself is raw XML code, but don't let it scare you!
To find our RSS URL (address), right-click on the orange RSS/XML image to select Copy Shortcut or Copy Link Location. Or, click on the XML button to display the code, and use "Ctrl+C" to copy the URL found in the address bar of your browser.
Then, add the link to your RSS reader. Sometimes you can drag our RSS/XML image onto your reader directly. Also look for a "Feed" or "Add Feed" button. Some programs use a variation of the File/New menu item to start the process of adding a new feed.
Once your reader is set up you can also select headlines from any other RSS-enabled web site!
Many free readers exist, along with some commercial programs. You may use any reader you like. Two common formats are a scrolling "headlines" view and a larger display of headlines and summaries of the associated article.
- (free* web client or Internet Explorer plug-in)
- Awasu (free and paid versions)
- Feedreader (free)
- (free*; paid version integrates into Outlook and other e-mail clients)
- Internet Explorer 7 users have an alternative to the above programs:
- Left click the orange RSS symbol on IE7 toolbar. You will see a list of the feed headlines, and an option to turn on "automatic feed updates" which will check for new headlines. RSS feeds are listed in the Favorites menu, by clicking the Feeds button.
- Firefox 2 users have two alternatives to the above programs:
- Left click the orange RSS symbol in the address bar. A page will appear listing the feed headlines, and presenting an option to subscribe to the selected feed. The default, Live Bookmarks, will add a folder to your Bookmarks menu that contains the current headlines, and keep it updated for you!
- Install one of several free extensions via the Tools/Extensions menu (that will take you to a web site; look under the "News Reading" section; Sage and InfoRSS are two styles to try).
* The Pluck, NewsGator and My Yahoo! buttons will add our feed into these companies' RSS readers.
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a simple, very flexible text format. Originally designed to meet the challenges of large-scale electronic publishing, XML is also playing an increasingly important role in the exchange of a wide variey of data on the Web and elsewhere.
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