Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a format widely used by websites to automatically publish a feed of their latest items such a posts, stories and media. Think of it as you would an index for a magazine, allowing you to see a short summary of the latest stories to aid in your choice.
An RSS reader will let you access this feed and browse over the short summaries without visiting the website. Should you find something worth looking at, you click on the link and you will be transported to the relevant material.
RSS has another benefit making it incredibly powerful, aggregating feeds. Aggregating feeds allows a person, along with a RSS reader, to combine multiple feeds into an specified category/area so that they can keep up to date with all the latest news within a particular subject. For example, a person with an interest in science might combine feeds from NASA, BBC Science and Physics today websites. This would allow them to keep up to date with all the latest news and publications in one place, thus negating the need to visit multiple sites time and time again.
To subscribe to a feed you need to look for the RSS logo, clicking on this will add the feed to you RSS reader. For example you can click on the RSS logo in the top right hand corner of this blog.
Below is a short video which visually explains the basics of RSS and RSS readers.
RSS feeds are also available for the Blogs, Wikis and Podcast tools within Blackboard, for more information contact the Learning Technology Team.