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RSS

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What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's an easy way for you to keep up with news and information that's important to you, and helps you avoid the conventional methods of browsing or searching for information on websites. Now the content you want can be delivered directly to you. This content is called a "feed." This feed is also referred to as RSS Feed, web feed, RSS stream, or RSS channel.

RSS is written in the Internet coding language known as XML (eXtensible Markup Language). This is why you see RSS buttons commonly labeled with this icon:

What Is an RSS Reader?

An RSS reader is a small software program that collects and displays RSS feeds. It allows you to scan headlines from a number of news sources in a central location.There are different versions of RSS Readers; some are accessed using a browser, and some are downloadable applications. Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer. Downloadable applications, on the other hand, let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail.

Where Can I Get an RSS Reader?

Some browsers, such as the current versions of Firefox, Opera and Safari have built in RSS readers. They can automatically check for RSS feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one. This can make subscribing to RSS feeds much easier.If you're using a browser that doesn't currently support RSS, there are a variety of RSS readers available on the web; some are free to download and others are available for purchase. The link given below will help you find more information on RSS readers on the web. We do not recommend or endorse any reader in particular.

How Do I Use RSS Feeds?

The first step is to choose an RSS reader. Each reader has a slightly different way of adding a new feed, also called a "channel." Please follow the directions for your specific reader. The instructions given here reflect the case in most RSS readers:

  • Click on the link or small XML button near the feed you want. You'll see a page displaying XML code.
  • From your web browser's address bar, copy the URL (the web address of the page). Paste the copied URL into the "Add New Channel" section of the reader. The RSS feed will start to display and regularly track the updates on a web site.

Technical Support for RSS Readers

NIDCR is unable to provide support for RSS readers or to test our feeds with a specific reader. Users interested in using this technology or who need technical support should enlist the help of their computer support staff.​​​​

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This page last updated: November 13, 2014