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Keeping Up-To-Date : Current Awareness > RSS Feeds

This guide aims to teach you how to set up your own current awareness system with basic tips and tools.

What is RSS?

RSS stands for  Really Simple Syndication.

RSS is "a standardized system for the distribution of content from an online
publisher to Internet users" (Oxford Dictionaries, n.d.). In other words, it is a
way to extract new content from a website that is regularly updated and to
push it to users.

It is also referred to as an RSS feed, a web feed, or an RSS channel. It is
associated with the following icon  .

The advantages of RSS feeds compared to email alerts:

  • Anonymous subscription and easy unsubscription;
  • Do not clog up your email;
  • Easy information management (latest news, automatic deletion);
  • Offered by many information sources.

Reading RSS feeds

A variety of RSS readers or aggregators exist:

 

How to add an RSS feed to Outlook

Finding RSS feeds for websites

Most of the time, you can find an RSS feed by finding the icon .

If you don't see it, you can also display the source code of the web page (right click on the page, choose in the menu "View source code") and search in the HTML code for the words "RSS" or "Feed" with CTRL+F.

RSS explained

Creating RSS feeds

Sometimes, a site does not provide RSS feeds.

Luckily, there are some free tools that can create RSS feeds for a page that is updated regularly, such as:

Other tools can aggregate several feeds to create one that meets a more complex information need:

You can also configure Google Alerts to create an RSS feed instead of receiving an email, as explained on the Feeder website.

   Beware: The lasting continuity of these free
tools is not assured!