What is RSS?

rss_largeRSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.  RSS feeds are a quick and easy way to get real-time information from multiple Web sites in one place!

For example, if you visit three different Web sites daily for news and information, you can subscribe to these three RSS feeds for free and receive their up-to-date news via one Web site.

Find a feed reader, a simple tool.

In order to subscribe to an RSS feed, you will first need a feed reader—a tool you will use to subscribe to RSS feeds and to receive up-to-date information from them.  There are many different free feed readers—some common ones are: My Yahoo!, iGoogle, and My MSN. Depending on the feed reader you choose, you may need to create a user account.

Here are two examples of how to get started using iGoogle and Google Reader. (To use either iGoogle or Google Reader, you will need a Google account. If you have a Gmail account, then you already have a Google account.)

  • Go to www.google.com.
  • In the upper right hand corner of the page, click Sign in.
  • Next, click on Create an account now in the small blue box on the right.
  • Fill in the short form and click I accept. Create my account.

That’s it! You now have a Google Account. Don’t forget your password!

Subscribe to a feed.

It’s easy—first, you grab your feed.

To subscribe to an RSS feed, you can make a quick visit to the news or information site whose information you’d like to see. Let’s grab the RSS news feeds from CNN as an example.

  • Go to www.cnn.com
  • Every Web site keeps their RSS feeds in different places—many sites place an orange square (pictured above) next to their feeds, making them easy to find. On CNN, if you scroll down almost to the bottom (where you see the big red links on the left), you’ll see a link that says RSS Feeds. Click that link.
  • There will be a long list, by category, of all CNN’s RSS feeds.
  • Pick the feed you would like to subscribe to, and simply highlight the feed’s URL (each feed begins with “http://rss.cnn.com/rss/”).
  • Copy the URL to your clipboard. (Ctrl-C on a PC, Apple-C on a Mac.)
  • That’s it—you’ve grabbed your RSS feed!

Next, put the feed into a feed reader.

Here’s how you can do it with iGoogle, where your feeds will appear on a customizable homepage:

  • Go to Google.com and sign in.
  • In the upper right hand corner, click iGoogle.  If you have not used iGoogle before, you will see default blocks of information provided by Google (in Figure 1 below the blocks are: Movies, How to of the Day, Weather, etc.). To delete any of these blocks, simply click the “x” in the upper right hand corner of the block (see Figure 2 below). As you subscribe to new RSS feeds, they will appear as new blocks.
  • To add your RSS feed, click Add stuff (on the right).
  • Then, click the link on the left that says, Add feed or gadget.
  • Paste your feed into the box. (Make sure that “http://” appears once after you have pasted your feed.)
  • Click Add.
  • To see your feed, click Back to iGoogle home at the of the page.

You also can do it with Google Reader, where your feeds will be displayed as a list:

  • Sign into Google.
  • Click on More at the top of the screen—on the drop-down list that appears, click Reader (toward the bottom).
  • Google Reader, by default, will look like Figure 3 below.
  • To add your subscription, click Add a subscription (on the green bar at the left).
  • Paste your feed into the box.
  • Click Add.
  • That’s it, you have subscribed to a feed!

Figure 1. (iGoogle by default)


Figure 2. (Example of an iGoogle block)


Figure 3. (Google Reader by default)


Watch a video about RSS Feeds!