RSS, or Really Simple Syndication/ Rich Site Summary, automatically updates you when your chosen web sites have added new content. This means that you can get the latest headlines and articles as soon as they are published. It also saves you having to search around for relevant terms because it will only show you content from sites you have chosen. This also makes it much easier to browse headlines from lots of different sites in one place. Most major news sites, and even some PR services, now offer RSS feeds.

How can I use RSS?

Essentially, RSS pages (or feeds) are a kind of web page designed to be read by computers rather than people. To get started you will need a ‘news reader’, a piece of software that checks RSS feeds and lets you read any new articles that have been added to them. While a browser-based news reader will allow you to check your feed subscriptions from any computer, downloadable applications will let you store them on your main computer (like downloading your e-mail using Outlook, or keeping it on a web-based service like Hotmail).

Once you have chosen your news reader, simply choose the content you want to receive by finding and subscribing to the relevant RSS feeds. You can subscribe to the feed by dragging the URL of the RSS feed into your news reader, or by cutting and pasting the same URL into a new feed in your news reader (most sites that offer RSS feeds use a similar orange RSS button, but it can be a normal web link to the feed).

While some browsers automatically check for RSS feeds for you when you visit a website, and display an icon when they find one, different news readers work on different operating systems - so you will need to choose one that will work with your computer.