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What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and is a method whereby a vistor to a website can automatically receive new content from a website without having to visit that website to find it - it is delivered to you.

RSS works on a system of "feeds" (often called News Feeds) and their presence on a web page is generally indicated by an icon similar to the orange ones shown above

All web browsers will show (using a similar icon in the address bar) that a web page contains one or more RSS feeds.

Using RSS feeds

The basic principle of an RSS feed is much similar to a bookmark. Like bookmarking a web page, you bookmark an RSS feed. The main difference between the two is that an RSS feed bookmark "polls" the web page on a periodic basis (once per hour or once per day or at some other interval) looking for new content. Should new content be found the user is either alerted to presence of that new content, or presented with it.

Once you have been alerted to the new content, it is either presented to you in the news reader (or browser) or you are presented with a link to follow to read the new content.

What do I need?

Simply, not very much at all. All modern web browsers are capable of displaying RSS feeds by clicking on the icon mentioned above. There are dedicated "feed readers" available and a search on your favourite searfh engine for "RSS feed reader" will result in thousands of options which you can investigate. There are online versions as well, such as Google's Reader application Click here to check that out.

All you do is to copy the URL of the feed (which will be shown in the address bar of your browser, or by right-clicking on an RSS link - like those above - and selecting copy shortcut), and pasting that address into the reader of choice. It will then take care of letting you know when new content is available.

More information

If you would like to find out more about the technical specifics of RSS, please read the Wikipedia article.
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