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RSS feed

Posted Friday, December 21, 2007, at 10:58 AM

You may notice from the front page of the T-G site that we now offer an RSS feed of headlines -- look in the gray menu bar for the orange feed symbol and the letters "RSS." This feature was just added by our webmasters in Missouri, and I didn't notice it was there until this morning.

This may be a little technical, but if you bear with me I'll try to explain all of the terms for those of you who may be unfamiliar.

RSS was originally short for "Really Simple Syndication," but now they claim it means "RDF Site Summary." It's a way of keeping track of a web site, like a blog or a news site, that updates its content regularly. Instead of visiting each site manually to check for new content, you can use a "feed reader" to view a list of what new items have been added to any of the sites you follow.

Here are a couple of sites with a basic explanation of RSS: http://www.whatisrss.com/


There are many different types of feed readers. Some e-mail programs and web browsers have built-in feed reader programs. There are also feed reader web sites like Google Reader or My Yahoo! that you can use. I, personally, use Google Reader ( http://www.google.com/reader ). I follow a large number of blogs, and by going to the Google Reader web site I can easily see which ones have been updated without having to visit them all individually. You can do the same thing with any news sites you follow that publish RSS feeds.

Try clicking on the RSS link at the main T-G page -- if your browser asks you if you want to subscribe, then it's apparently got some sort of built-in feed-reader.

Here's the address for our front page RSS feed, if you need to type it in to a feed reader manually: http://www.t-g.com/feed/rss/all/week.rss

Our T-G blogs have already had their own individual RSS feeds for some time, but the new RSS feed on the front page lists news stories, not blog postings.

You can also use an RSS feed to put a widget on your blog or web site that would display links to the T-G's most recent stories. It might look something like this:

The HTML code to produce that box came from http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/rss , but if you Google search for "RSS Widget" you should find a number of different possibilities.

Try playing around with Google Reader or My Yahoo! ( http://my.yahoo.com ) and subcribing to RSS feeds from the T-G and some of your other favorite news sites or blogs. You may find it's a convenient way to scan a lot of content quickly.

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John I. Carney
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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