RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. It was conceptualized and initially developed by UserLand’s Dave Winer in 1997, and is a mainly text-based format for delivering syndicated, dynamic web content to an RSS “feed reader.” A feed reader is an application that aggregates text RSS feeds into a single location, making them easier to keep up with and keep track of. You can view multiple RSS feeds simultaneously in your feed reader, helping you to stay informed. This as opposed to keeping track of many different and dynamically-changing Website structures.

Examples of feed readers include NetNewsWire, FeedReader, NewsGator or Amphetadesk for standalone applications and Google Reader or Bloglines for web-based applications. Examples of RSS-integrated applications include and Safari from Apple, and Outlook 2007 from Microsoft.

Once you decide on a feed reader, you just have to find blogs, photo-sharing sites and news sites that you want to keep up with. Sites often display an RSS icon (that says RSS, XML or RDF) for you to click on to access a feed, and modern Internet browsers often auto-detect feeds, displaying an RSS icon in the address bar when a feed is available.


Dave Winer’s RSS Site
RSS Version History at Harvard Law


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