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Marshall's Web Tool Blog

Training and Consulting in New Tools for Effective Web Use

This site is an archive of posts that I hope you will find useful. Please visit my new site at Marshallk.com.

RSS Syndication

RSS (rich site summary, or really simple syndication) is a tool that automatically checks any website it is directed at for new content and delivers it into one central location. There are a number of alternatives to RSS that do the same thing. The blog software I am using for this page uses Atom (via the Atom 0.3 button on the front page.) The little news sections in the right side bar of this blog's front page utilize RSS to display headlines automatically from the RSS "feeds" I catch on those subjects.

According to a recent Pew survey, an estimated 5% of US web users read their news by RSS. Instead of trying to remember all your favorite web addresses, and wasting time going to ones that haven't been updated since the last time you visited - you can subscribe to the RSS feeds of sites that offer them and read all your new headlines in one inbox. Many different kinds of content can be delivered to an RSS inbox, or aggregator, including automatically found search results and MP3 or other file attachments. There are many advantages to RSS over traditional email newsletters, and it is expected to be one of the primary news delivery methods of the coming years.

My RSS aggregator catches more than 150 feeds every time I log in, and many people read more. RSS technology, combined with good strategies for using it, can dramatically increase your access to key information while reducing the problem of information overload.

I use Newsgator to read RSS feeds, many people use Bloglines and there are many, many more options available.

You should be using RSS feeds to read news, you should offer RSS feeds for the content you create (see this blog's RSS feed in the top right hand corner of the front page), and you can use RSS feeds to capture and post automatically any news of interest to your web site's visitors.

Showing people how to use this tool is one of the things I'm most excited about.

I've set up a demonstration account at Newsgator that you can log it to at this link. The username is "marshalldemo" and the password is "welcome". You can read about this demo account in this entry on my blog.
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