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RSS feeds and podcasts

RSS feeds

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 blogs, news items, publications, media releases, alerts and newsletters.

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.

Feed Reader or News Aggregator software allows you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use. 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 News aggregator.

Once you have your Feed Reader, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks. RSS feeds can usually be found linked from a small orange icon such as RSS or XML or RSS feed.

Podcasts

Podcasting is an advanced use of the RSS format that provides 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 mobile device.

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 your computer or on a mobile device.

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.

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