Really Simple Syndication (or Rich Site Summary) is an important Internet technology that is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for people to stay informed. RSS is an easy way for you to get the latest news and updates from your favorite web sites without having to worry about spam or giving out private information. With RSS, you no longer need to visit a dozen different sites to see the latest news, announcements, reviews, or job offerings. You can simply check your news reader (or news aggregator) for a list of the latest headlines and updates, click on the ones that interest you, and you will be taken directly to the place on a particular site where the information appears. This can be done for any site that offers RSS service.
H-Net is proud to offer you this service on our Job Guide, Announcements, Reviews, and Discussion Logs. Select the service you want below by either clicking the link or the get RSS button. You will be taken to a new page. You can ignore the code that you see or the error message. What you need is the web address (URL) that appears in the address toolbar of your browser. You should copy and paste this address into your news reader.
Recent Job Guide Posts
Some lists included here may not have a RSS feed for reviews.
Recent Discussion Logs
What is RSS?
RSS is similar to those annoying tickers that have become commonplace on news, sports, and entertainment television networks. These tickers scroll the latest news headlines at the bottom of your television set while you are watching the main programming. RSS does the same thing only it provides a preview of the latest information from a web site as new content is generated. A user can view the latest news headlines from the New York Times Online, stock quotes from Wall Street, the latest sports scores from the ESPN web site, or the latest postings from your favorite online blog. If you find any of these headlines interesting, you can click on the headline and jump directly to the full story at that organization's web site.
RSS is simply a standardized way for organizations to their latest information to users. In it's simplest form, RSS is the exchange of a text file that is delivered in a pre-specified format. A user requests an RSS feed (text file) by providing the url for a particular organization's feed. The organization responds to the request by handing the user a text file with its latest information formatted in RSS. The user then uses an RSS reader to read the file or takes the information contained in the RSS feed and places it on a web page. For example, one of the most popular RSS feeds on the internet is for the magazine Wired. You can access their RSS feed by going to the url http://www.wired.com/news_drop/netcenter/netcenter.rdf. Wired will then generate a text document (XML document) and send it back to the user. Each item in the resulting text document looks something like this:
This may look strange, but if you look at the tags and the information it basically says that provides a headline (item), provides a title for the item, a link to view the story, and a short description of the story. Since all organizations providing information in RSS use this same format, users can use a single application to read any number of different RSS feeds or combine any number of RSS feeds onto their web page.
It is simple to get started using RSS. To do so, you will need a software application called a news aggregator that allows you to subscribe to feeds from web sites that offer RSS. There are many news aggregators available online and, depending on the options that you want, many are free or can be purchased for a nominal fee.
Although each news aggregator can have different options and properties, there are a few basics that hold true for almost all. The first thing you will need is an RSS web address or URL called an RSS feed. Usually, if a web site offers RSS feeds, you will see one or both of the these images as links ( ) or you will find a text link. When you click on the link, you will often find a good deal of code or an error message. Don't worry. All you really need is the web address of the link (such as http://www.h-net.org/announce/rss/all.rss), which you will then add to the news aggregator. Other types of files that can be read by aggregators include ".xml" and ".rdf" and "Atom." The news aggregator will then check the web sites for new items (usually at a time interval that you specify) and deliver the headlines to your desktop.
RSS not only saves you the time and energy of having to check multiple web sites, but it also gives you control over your subscriptions. Since you subscribe to the site and you do not exchange any contact information, you can end the subscription at any time by deleting it from your news aggregator (and you will never get spam).
Below is a list of the more popular applications that can be downloaded from the web:
Adding RSS to Your Web Site
More on RSS
RSS is a lightweight E X tensible M arkup L anguage (XML) format that was developed as the scriptingNews format by David Winer at UserLand 1997. Since then several competing versions have been developed (see RSS History ). While RSS gives users excellent access to traditional news services and commercial news sites like the BBC, CNET, CNN, Disney, Forbes, Motley Fool, Wired, Red Herring, Salon, Slashdot, and ZDNet, it can also be a great way to keep up on favorite blogs, wikis, and personal web pages. That is, any web site that offers constantly updated information and news is a candidate for offering an RSS feed. And many sites do offer RSS service. For more information on XML and other formats mentioned go to WC3 or W3Schools . For a more comprehensive list of RSS feeds, go to Syndic8 or NewIsFree .
These feeds are free and available to the public; however, we ask that if you display H-Net content on your website that you link back to us with a link or logo (included in the feed). We ask that you do not profit from or resell information supplied by the feed. We reserve the right to request that a site remove a feed if we believe it is being used inappropriately.
If you have any questions about these feeds, please contact our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org