RSS feeds and podcasts
What is an RSS feed used for?
An RSS feed is a simple method for staying informed about new content on a website. Types of content that can have RSS feeds are news items, publications, media releases, alerts and blogs.
How does RSS work?
RSS is a file format that is used to let people know when a certain website or part of a website has been updated with new content.
The service which alerts users to these updates is known as an RSS feed. A feed, like a website, is a file of computer code that your computer converts into something that can be read on your screen. Unlike a website, an RSS feed cannot simply be viewed in your browser window. To view an RSS feed, you will need to download an RSS reader (also called a feed reader or RSS aggregator).
When loaded into an RSS reader, a feed will deliver a brief summary of each update that is made to the website it comes from, along with a link to the updated area of the website.
RSS feeds can usually be found linked from a small orange icon such as or or .
What is a podcast used for?
Podcasting is a convenient way of automatically downloading audio or video files to your computer. You can then play this audio or video on your computer or transfer the files to a portable MP3 or video player.
How does a podcast work?
Podcasting is an advanced use of the RSS format that allows the delivery of audio content (usually MP3 files) or video content instead of updates to a website.
A publisher or broadcaster podcasts the program by posting the episodes and the RSS feed to their website. You can subscribe to the podcast using a podcasting client application which regularly reads the RSS file and downloads new episodes for later listening or viewing, either on their computer or on a portable MP3 player.
Where can I find RSS readers?
There are a large number of RSS readers (also known as feed readers or news aggregators) available to the public.
Some are downloadable programs that are installed on your computer, while others are web-based services that you log in to through your web browser. Some web browsers (such as Firefox, Opera and Safari) are also capable of tracking RSS feeds.
Wikipedia.org provides links to a range of RSS reading alternatives, see Aggregator.
Where can I find Podcast readers?
Podcast readers (also known as podcatchers or podcast aggregators) are not as plentiful as RSS readers, but there are still plenty of options.
Wikipedia.org provides links to a range of podcatchers, see List of Podcatchers.