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RSS Feeds and Syndication Help

Help with RSS feeds

What is RSS?

Rather than just provide a definition, it's often easier to explain RSS in the context of a problem:

Problem: There's only one of you. However, there are billions and billions of websites. And every day — well, guess what? Someone is adding another website even as you read this here on Kidology.

How can you keep up, assuming that you'd want to?

Enter RSS.

Wouldn't it be cool if the latest articles, blog updates, essays, and news items were delivered directly to you, rather than you needing to click from site to site? Well now you can have the latest items from many of your favorite websites delivered to you without your so much as lifting a finger, thanks to a very clever service called RSS.

The "RSS" acronym stands for "Really Simple Syndication" (Though some tech folks debate this a little, as a few prefer to call it "Rich Site Summary", but it doesn't matter if it works, right?).

Put plainly, RSS allows you to choose the "content" you like and have it delivered directly to you, taking the hassles out of staying up-to-date by delivering to you the very latest information from sites of interest to you.

One analogy is that RSS is like receiving a customized news feed, just like a personalized AP or Reuters wire service. Thus "feed" is a term frequently bandied about when discussing RSS.

Now, you need to understand that what you get with RSS depends upon the "Newsreader" you use (more on this in a moment). Some just show the headline and when it was published. Others include a brief summary as well. Not all websites currently provide RSS, but it is growing rapidly in popularity and most blogs and news sites do offer "feeds".

Finally, you might see mention on the Internet about "Atom" or "XML" in relation of feeds. RSS and Atom are two different (and competing) ways of doing the same thing. They both use XML (eXtended Markup Language) formated "messages" to deliver the latest news from a given feed (website) to a newsreader. Here at Kidology we use the RSS 2.0 standard.

How do I start using RSS feeds?

There are two options for reading RSS feeds: Installing a piece of software on your computer or using an online (sometimes called "Web-based") reader service.

So which is better?

Well, if you already have a Yahoo!, MSN, or Google e-mail account or other personalized homepage then you already have an online reader. Yep, these popular services offer newsreaders that allow you to add your favorite RSS feeds to your personalized homepage painlessly. However, if you'd prefer a stand-alone, non-Web-based application, there are a couple to check out.

Here at Kidology, we find that most people prefer online readers such as Bloglines or Google Reader. Why? No matter what computer or platform (PC vs. Mac), you can always access your favorite feeds via the Web. Additionally, there is no software to install and they are easy to use.

How do I subscribe to Kidology's feeds?

All of Kidology.org's RSS feeds are listed below. You can add these feeds into your various newsreaders (obviously, check the appropriate documentation on how to do that). For some popular online newsreaders, we've provided buttons to the right that will add the main Kidology RSS feed for users of these services. Just click the button and follow the prompts. It's that simple!

If you prefer to subscribe to specific RSS feeds or aren't using one of the featured newsreaders, below is a list of the current feeds offered by Kidology.org:

  Click here to view the XML representation of the main Kidology feed
Click here to add the main Kidology feed to Bloglines
Click here to add the main Kidology feed to My Yahoo! Click here to add the main Kidology feed to My MSN
Click here to add the main Kidology feed to Google
Click here to add the main Kidology feed to Newsgator
Click here to add the main Kidology feed to Rojo
Click here to add the main Kidology feed to Pluck


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