What is RSS?

If you want to get the latest news about the N.C. State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as soon as it's published, several news feeds are available.

The FAQ below will give you some basic information about using news feeds, RSS, news readers and more. To get started using RSS, you'll need to download a news reader. See below for several popular news readers available at no cost for download.

1. What is RSS?
2. What is a news feed?
3. What are the benefits of using a news feed?
4. What is a news reader?
5. How do I access a news feed?
6. What NC State news feeds are available?

1. What is RSS?
RSS, which stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, is another term for a news feed. RSS is a means by which content from selected Web sites is syndicated and delivered to your computer without having to continually revisit those sites searching for new content.

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2. What is a news feed?
A news feed, also referred to as an RSS feed, provides a listing of a Web site's recently updated content and is delivered to users at regular intervals by a news reader. Users subscribe to the news feeds of their choice, which transmit a list of story headlines, story summaries or excerpts, and links to the complete text of stories from the originating Web site. The headlines, summaries and links are delivered to users at regular intervals specified by the user (every hour, for example) through a news reader.

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3. What are the benefits of using a news feed?
Users who visit certain Web sites on a regular basis looking for new content can save time by signing up to receive fresh stories. A news reader will alert you automatically when the Web sites you select publish new content that interests you. Sites like MSNBC, ESPN, New York Times, CNN and countless more all have syndicated feeds.

You also can customize which categories of stories you are interested in receiving. Most Web sites utilizing news feeds allow the user to select specific content they want to receive. For instance, a news Web site might allow you to receive content specifically related to U.S. news, world news or political news, among others. The Extension Online News site allows you to select story categories ranging from Agriculture and Food to Youth and 4-H.

By using a news reader and subscribing to news feeds, you will be alerted when those sites publish a new story.

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4. What is a news reader?
The first step in using RSS feeds will be downloading a news reader, also called a news aggregator. Much as we use programs like Outlook, Hotmail and Entourage to read email, a news reader is software that is needed to read news feeds. A variety of news readers are available free of charge. News readers differ in how they look and function, so experts suggest testing several readers before selecting one.

Some of the more popular news readers include:
Feedreader (Windows 95 and later)
Sharpreader (Window XP)
Aggie (Windows 98 and later)
Awasu (Windows)
NetNewsWire (Max OS X)
Bloglines (Web-based)
NewsGator (Web-based)
Pluck (Internet Explorer plug in or Web-based)
AmphetaDesk (PC, Mac, Linux)

RSS support is also included in current versions of the Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird mail client.

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5. How do I access a news feed?
Once you have a news reader, you can select the RSS feeds from various Web sites that you would like your reader to track. Subscribing to an RSS, or news, feed is a relatively simple process. Unfortunately, the process is complicated by the fact that different browsers and feed readers operate differently.

In order to subscribe to an RSS feed, you need to copy the URL, which is also known as an Internet address or link, to your feed reader. To subscribe to any of the RSS feeds listed below, right click on the RSS feed icon. You'll be given a list of options that will differ with different browsers. You should be able to copy the RSS feed address by selecting something like "copy shortcut" or "copy link location." Your feed reader should have a function that allows you to add feeds. Select this function and copy the RSS feed address to the feed reader.

Alternatively, you can left click on the RSS feed icon. You'll see a page of code that probably won't make much sense. But the URL, or link, will be in a box at the top of the page. Copy it and paste it into your feed reader.

Several available news feeds from NC State University follow.

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6. What NC State University news feeds are available?

NC State University currently offers several RSS feeds. To receive an RSS feed from one of the following topics, right click the appropriate button below and paste the link into your RSS reader.

NC State University -- Latest News

NC Cooperative Extension -- Latest News

Agriculture and Life Sciences News

Business Information Network

Computer Science - Latest News


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