What is RSS?
What is RSS?
RSS, or 'Really Simple Syndication', is a way of streamlining the process of accessing content online. Rather than having to check your favourite websites all the time for updates, with RSS the content comes directly to you - all you have to do is subscribe to a site's RSS feed.
Wellington City Libraries provide RSS feeds for our frequently updated information. This includes blog posts, events, and new books, DVDs, CDs and more.
Watch a video
Watch this short video 'RSS in Plain English' for a concise explanation of what RSS is.
- One page summary site
- BBC introduction to RSS feeds
- NZ Herald Introduction to RSS
- Wikipedia definition of RSS
How can I find RSS feeds?
Different browsers have different methods of alerting you to the presence of RSS feeds on a website, but the key thing to look for in your browser controls is the symbol to the left of this paragraph.
Many site authors will also list their RSS feeds somewhere on the website's main page or in the navigation and will often also indicate the presence of an RSS feed using this symbol.
RSS feed readers (see below) also include tools that can help you discover RSS feeds.
How do I use RSS?
There are several different ways to access content from RSS feeds.
For the most part you'll need a tool called a feed reader (also called a 'news reader' or 'news aggregator'). Feed readers collect and collate all the information from your RSS feeds and present it to you in a readable format, in one place.
They also offer easy methods of adding feeds, so you can manage your content.
Here are some options:
- A web-based RSS feed reader:
- Built-in browser functionality:
- Browser add-ons:
- An RSS feed reader that you download & install on your computer:
- Or, as an alternative, an online service that lets you receive updates to your RSS feeds via e-mail:
Library RSS feeds
Create your own
Did you know that you can create RSS feeds for your library catalogue searches? This is great for keeping up to date with all the new books we buy on topics that interest you.
Our new visual catalogue Easyfind offers this functionality. Look for this icon in the top right hand corner of your search results, click on it, and choose your preferred option for subscribing to your feed.
Books about RSS
- Syndicating web sites with RSS feeds for dummies
- By Ellen Finkelstein ; foreword by Chris Pirillo
- Chapters include: Choosing an RSS feed reader; Subscribing to RSS feeds; Using RSS to spread your blog; Launching your RSS feed; Creating your first feed; Automating RSS creation; Ten best RSS readers; Ten best RSS resources; Setting up a Web site, and more.
- Developing feeds with RSS and Atom
- By Ben Hammersley
- "Perhaps the most explosive technological trend over the past two years has been blogging. As a matter of fact, it's been reported that the number of blogs during that time has grown from 100,000 to 4.8 million-with no end to this growth in sight. What's the technology that makes blogging tick? The answer is RSS - a format that allows bloggers to offer XML-based feeds of their content. [...] That's where Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom, 2nd Edition steps in. It provides bloggers, web developers, and programmers with a thorough explanation of syndication in general and the most popular technologies used to develop feeds." (Amazon.co.uk)
Our favourite feeds
RSS feeds can be addictive! To get you started, here are just a few New Zealand-oriented feeds. Try them out and see what you think:
- Radio New Zealand
Receive news updates from Radio New Zealand or choose to subscribe to podcasts of Radio NZ programmes.
- New Zealand Herald
Choose to subscribe to news items about entertainment, sport, politics, world news, health, environment, business, etc. from the NZ Herald website.
Stuff.co.nz offer a number of feeds on different aspects of the news - look for the RSS icon next to each news section (entertainment, sport etc.) on their homepage.
- Wellington City Council
Get updates from Wellington City Council. Choose to subscribe to feeds of 'Your views', 'Latest news', 'Open consultations', or 'Current ePetitions'.
- Feeling Great
Recreation in Wellington. Browse by recreation type (e.g. Swimming & Aquafitness), and then look for the RSS feed for that recreation type in the sidebar.
- Te Papa
Te Papa offer RSS feeds for their blog and podcasts. Scroll down their homepage and look for the RSS icon.