RSS Explained


This page offers an overview of RSS, how to use it, iSchool RSS details, and more.

RSS Overview

What does the orange radio signal icon mean? Perhaps you regularly visit Dr. Linda Main’s iSchool Curriculum Center blog, and don’t want to miss a posting? RSS can help.

The simplest analogy for understanding RSS is that it lets you subscribe to an Internet source of information like you subscribe to a newspaper or magazine. When the latest issue of a magazine is published, you could go to a local store to buy it, or you could save time and money by having it delivered in the mail. RSS is akin to subscribing to the magazine rather than going to the store. You no longer have to visit a site every day to get all the latest content. Blog posts come at irregular intervals: some days there are more than one, other days there are none. Rather than check every day, RSS does it for you.

RSS will tell you when you have new content from:

  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • News Feeds
  • Digital content services for items such as recent videos or photos
  • Updates to listings, such as the INFO 294 Internship new listings feed

Which RSS subscription method to use?

How you subscribe to RSS feeds depends on your personal preferences. An RSS aggregator manages all of your RSS feeds in one convenient place. Do you want to: use a website which collects your feeds, view multiple feeds with an application running on your computer, or directly view individual feeds with your web browser?

  • An RSS feed aggregating website will collect the latest postings from your subscriptions. This method is useful because it can be viewed from any browser, and many services offer mobile access. Popular free sites are Feedly, NewsBlur, NetVibes, and more. Note that some free versions have limitations. Read more about web-based readers here.
  • A full list of software applications (including many email clients which can read RSS feeds) is at this comparison of feed aggregators.
  • Browser-based: While Firefox and Internet Explorer provide native RSS support, all of the major browsers (Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari, and Opera) have extensions (add-ins or plugins) that will allow you to view feeds. For example, RSS Aggregator is among several feed reader extensions available for Chrome.

Tutorials: How to Get RSS

The links listed below give step by step instructions for subscribing to RSS feeds:

SJSU iSchool Blogs and Webcasts

See a list of iSchool blogs and webcasts. For iSchool students, the most important blog to subscribe to is Dr. Main’s iSchool Curriculum Center blog.