Welcome to our new followers we met at this week’s first Coffee Break with Web Services. We received a lot of great feedback and today’s blog post topic is inspired by a discussion I had with one of attendees. As a prelude for our new series about social media, today’s blog will address a key CCMS feature that you may have heard a lot about but are not yet using – RSS!

If you have ever wondered what all those little orange icons scattered throughout web sites were, then today’s blog post is for you.

RSS, Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, is a method used to deliver frequently-updated web content such as blog entries, news and events postings to a central location (Outlook, web browser folder, or news reader page).  The content is delivered in a document called a “feed” and includes full text or an excerpt of the recently-published page post. RSS is an excellent communication tool that saves you time. Instead of having to regularly check your favourite web sites to see whether anything new has been posted, when you use RSS to subscribe to that site’s RSS feed, you will receive automatic notifications via Outlook RSS Feeds or another RSS reader of your choice whenever something new has been posted.  The following diagram sourced from elliance.com provides a great visual of how RSS feeds work.

</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-5825" title="power-of-RSS1" src="http://carleton.ca/webservices/wp-content/uploads/power-of-RSS1.gif" alt="" width="300" height="366" srcset="https://carleton.ca/webservices/wp-content/uploads/power-of-RSS1.gif 375w, https://carleton.ca/webservices/wp-content/uploads/power-of-RSS1-50x61.gif 50w, https://carleton.ca/webservices/wp-content/uploads/power-of-RSS1-125x152.gif 125w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">

For further explanation, this YouTube video RSS in Plain English is also helpful.  Consider RSS as social networking for web sites. That is, similar to the way you need to subscribe to a friend’s Facebook page to receive their updates, you also need to subscribe to your favourite web site’s blog to find out what is new for that web site.  Popular RSS feeds here at Carleton that the community subscribes to include Newsroom, Carleton Now, and Department of Music concerts for example.

Using RSS

To use RSS you require a method to read the feeds. RSS readers are software used to compile, or aggregate, content from various web sites into one, central location. This software can be desktop, web, or mobile-based  depending on how and where you want to receive these RSS notifications. For most Carleton University PC users, the easiest and most common way to set up RSS feeds is through your Outlook email or using your web browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. Typically, these are your main tools for managing your day-to-day communication.

Setting up RSS through Outlook

Most Carleton users are set up to use Outlook to manage their email so this is probably the easiest method to use for your RSS reader. In addition, it allows you to check your email and feeds without the need to check another application.

  1. In Outlook, right-click on RSS Feeds in your Mail Folders window and select Add a New RSS Feed.The New RSS Feed window opens. You will now need to provide the URL address of the web site’s RSS feed for which you want to receive updates.
  2. On a favourite website, click on the RSS icon . This button is located on the site’s home page or in their news, events, or blog section. Depending on what sections of the site you want to receive update notifications, click on that section’s RSS button.
  3. Copy the URL of the RSS feeds page. The address should contain the slug “feeds” somewhere in the address such as http://smlinstitute.org/rss-feeds/.
  4. Paste this URL into the New RSS Feed window in Outlook. Click on the Add button. Click Yes to confirm that you want to add this RSS feed to Outlook. The new folder for your RSS feed appears under RSS Feeds and is populated with all currently published content. You can read and manage this content as you would your email.

Setting up RSS Feeds through a Web Browser

For RSS feed-enabled web pages, you can set up feeds using your web browser. Depending on which browser you are using (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome), the exact procedure for creating an RSS feed reader will vary but for most browsers the feeds will appear in a folder in your Bookmarks menu and you can manage these as you would your URL bookmarks.

  1. Click on the RSS icon on the website for which you want to receive RSS feeds.
  2. In your browser window, depending on the browser you are using, click on the RSS icon (for Internet Explorers users) or Subscribe to this page (for Firefox users) from the Bookmarks menu.  The web site’s feeds are aggregated in the browser window.
  3. Click on Subscribe Now. By default, Internet Explorer places RSS feeds into the RSS folder. For Firefox users, select the location in your Bookmarks folder where you want the Live Bookmarks page for this site to appear. Click Subscribe. The web site subscription will appear in your RSS feed folder.

Setting up RSS Feeds through Web Readers

There are multiple web-based readers out there that can also be used to aggregate your preferred web site content. When you select the RSS icon, most sites will prompt you to choose from a list of web-based news readers options.

For those who have browser home profile pages set to Google, Yahoo, or MSN for instance, using a reader to integrate site updates into your existing profile page is a good one-stop approach for consolidating all your information. Web-based readers also allow you to access your information from anywhere and readers such as Google provide additional options that allow you to email and share feeds and recommends other feeds you may be interested in. To use Google and Yahoo web-based readers, you require a Gmail or a Yahoo email address. Other news readers such as newsgator require you to download software.

Now that you are all set up with RSS feeds, be sure to subscribe to our CCMS RSS feed to stay up-to-date with what is going on with Web Services and our latest blog posts. To subscribe, simply go to our CCMS News page and select the Carleton CMS Blog RSS icon in the right-hand navigation bar or from the bottom of an existing post.

<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-5861" title="CCMS_RSS_subscription1" src="http://carleton.ca/webservices/wp-content/uploads/CCMS_RSS_subscription11.jpg" alt="" width="375" height="358" srcset="https://carleton.ca/webservices/wp-content/uploads/CCMS_RSS_subscription11.jpg 375w, https://carleton.ca/webservices/wp-content/uploads/CCMS_RSS_subscription11-50x47.jpg 50w, https://carleton.ca/webservices/wp-content/uploads/CCMS_RSS_subscription11-125x119.jpg 125w" sizes="(max-width: 375px) 100vw, 375px" /></p> <p>

Copy the URL into your news reader and click Subscribe. You will now never have to worry about missing out on exciting CCMS news again. It’s that easy!