RSS & Google Reader
What is RSS and why use it?
What is RSS?
Depending on who you ask, RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary. RSS provides an easy way for you to keep up wiith new articles from journals, database updates, news, blogs, and other item-based reporting.
For a nice, clean explanation, here's the "Oprah definition".
Instead of manually visiting each site to see if there is anything new, the updates are sent to your reader, where you can keep track of them all in one place. They are spam-free, and easy to manage.
This gives you a quick and simple way to keep up with:
- new journal articles/table of contents alerts
- news items
- new matches for saved database searches
What is an RSS Reader/News Aggregator?
There are many different readers (sometimes called "news aggregators"). They all provide you with a way to subscribe to and manage subscriptions to feeds, and to read the individual items. There are also tools for filtering feeds (some examples).
RSS readers come in many different flavors. Some are run as installed software, while many are browser-based: either built-in to the browser (Internet Explorer 7 has a reader); or plug-ins or add-ons to browsers (Firefox add-ons); or accessed via a browser but not incorporated into the browser software (ie, Google Reader or Bloglines).
FUMSI's article on Managing RSS Feeds has a lot of good information.
Why use Google Reader?
As noted above, there are many different RSS readers out there. This guide covers Google Reader simply because it's one of the easiest to set up and use, and it's easy to share selected items with your students and others.