Friday, 8 June 2007

Week 3 - RSS & Newsreaders

  1. Learn about RSS feeds and setup your own Netvibes account.

You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny tags on websites? You’ve heard co-workers and acquaintances swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? Well don’t worry, according to a recent survey you’re still in the majority, but this is changing rapidly. In the information world, RSS is not only revolutionalising the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web.

Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit every day. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS.

This week’s exercises focus on learning about RSS news feeds and setting up a Netvibes account (
customisable Web 2.0 home page/portal) for yourself to bring your feeds together.


CNET Video: RSS – Feel the Need for Feeds (3:32) – a good over view of what RSS is and the benefits to users.

Feed Me: A gentle introduction to Internet feeds - a good tutorial from Palinet, a library cooperative


  1. Follow the resources above to learn more about RSS and newsreaders.
  2. Create a free Netvibes online account for yourself and subscribe to at least 10 newsfeeds to your reader. See Netvibes FAQ for help on getting started.
  3. UCOL Library Staff Blogs - Subscribe to several of your co-workers' feeds and this blog. This is as easy as typing the blog URL into the add feed module in Netvibes. Try it, it's easy!
  4. Create a post in your blog about this exercise.

  1. Locate a few useful library related blogs and/or news feeds.

Now that you have your Netvibes account set up, you can begin adding other newsfeeds that interest you. There are several ways you can locate newsfeeds:

When visiting your favorite websites -- look for news feed icons that indicate the website provides it. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation bar of the site.

Use Netvibes Featured Feeds or Feed Directory to locate RSS feeds you may be interested in.

Other Search tools that can help you find feeds:

  • Feedster - One of the largest collections of RSS feeds, Feedster lets you search for feeds in three categories: news, blogs & podcasts
  • - This search tool allows you to locate recent newsfeed items based upon keyword or phrase searching. The tool focuses specifically on news and media outlet RSS feeds for information, not weblogs.
  • - Syndic8 is an open directory of RSS feeds that contains thousands of RSS feeds that users have submitted.
  • Technorati - Technorati is a popular blog finding tool that lets you search for blogs. Since RSS feeds are inherent to all blogging tools, Technorati Blog Search can help you find RSS feeds for topic specific blogs you may be interested in.
    Additional Resource: Technorati Tutorial on finding and adding your blog

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