RSS Feeds and Newsreaders


Suffering from information overload?


Do you find yourself surfing from news site to news site, or from website to website to catch the latest information? Do you seek out a number of blogs or other social networking sites and wish that it could all come to you without much effort? Then RSS Feeds and Newsreaders are for you.  


RSS currently stands for "really simple syndication" and allows information to be delivered to you automatically without you having to go seek it out every time.  Conceptually, think of cartoons or tv show reruns that are syndicated or broadcast in a number of places.


Want feeds brought into your website? How about your blog or wiki? email? Depending on the feed, you can even have them sent to your cell phone, mp3 player or PDA.


You can subscribe to individual feeds from any number of places.


You can also take advantage of a newsfeed account through a third party website or utility called a news aggregator or feed reader. These tools will bring all of your feeds to one place.  Examples of aggregators are : Bloglines and NewsGator 

Some aggregators are web-based and others require you to download the feed reader to your computer.  Other aggregators will send the feeds to your email accounts. 


For the purposes of this workshop we are going to use a free tool on the internet called Bloglines. You will each set up your own Bloglines account and subscribe to at least 5 feeds.


Note: Since the PLCMC Learning 2.0 Bloglines Tutorial was created, the interface and tabs at Bloglines have changed so it is important to follow the directions on our instruction Instruction Sheet exactly. 


If you are interested:

The flip side of receiving news feeds, either individually or through an aggregator, is creating or syndication your own newsfeed or blog. This used to be a complicated task that required learning to write .xml and .html or at the very least knowing how to copy and paste code from other sites.  You can now download RSS Feed creators or editors to assist with fairly easy syndicating your own information or content so you do not have to learn .xml or .html.  


In addition some free online blogging sites (like Blogger) allow you to syndicate your blog. 


Note: In practice, RSS and newsfeeds may seem (and perhaps are) more complex than other Web 2.0 technologies to grasp and put into practice, but that is mainly because there are so many options. 


Let's Take a Look


CNN's RSS feed Information


Yahoo RSS Feed Information


List of Feed Readers


Beverly CD's Bloglines Account for the Regional Read


List of RSS Feed Editors



How to step-by-step and demonstration:


Let's first watch Beverly, Diane or Nancy create a Blogline's account.


Read the step-by-step instructions:





Create your own  RSS Feed account in Bloglines


Directions for setting up an account in Bloglines.doc 


Syndicate your blog in Blogger:


Syndicate your blog.doc 



Good Principles and Practices: 


This is a case where our motto on the first page especially applies.  Your only limit is time....


Sometimes the aggregators will point you to a feed that requires a purchase - this is especially true of newspapers where they have value added content, such as the New York Times Select articles, etc. 


Keep your Feeds in an aggregator in some sort of organized manner, by using folders, etc. 


If possible, tag your feeds.




Try to understand the basic concept of RSS Feeds before you begin. 


Understand the difference between creating an RSS Feed account with an aggregator (which will bring information created elsewhere to you) and creating your own RSS Feed (you send your information out to the world)


GO SLOWLY.  Even though RSS means "really simple syndication" -  the word "simple" is a relative term in this context.


Don't give up.