Syndicating news and sports to the world

Friday, January 9, 2009

The RSS icon used on many Web sites to indicate the availability of news feeds

The RSS icon used on many Web sites to indicate the availability of news feeds.

The RSS icon used on many Web sites to indicate the availability of news feeds Image of an RSS feed 

ST. CLOUD, Minn - St. Cloud State University is offering RSS, a convenient way to keep up with campus news.

RSS -- Really Simple Syndication -- allows people to subscribe to feeds filled with news and sports headlines. Below each headline is a story teaser. A related photo is often available to the right of the headline.

View three example RSS feeds:

  • Spotlight - top stories about the university
  • Husky Athletics - a compilation of feeds about 14 Husky sports
  • Music - news, events and info from the Music Department

Visit the St. Cloud State RSS page to learn more about RSS news feeds and how to subscribe to them using the feed's URL, or Web address.

"RSS allows the university to push news and sports stories at people, rather than wait for them to visit our Web site," said Jeff Wood, director of web communications. "It's a no-cost, low-overhead method of communicating with people."

Subscribers choose from a variety of desktop or Web-based tools to monitor St. Cloud State stories, such as e-mail software (Outlook 2007), Web-application (Bloglines), browser (Firefox 3), personal portal (My Yahoo!), smartphone (Blackberry) and news aggregator (FeedDemon). In the Apple world, the Safari and Firefox browsers, iTunes, iPhone and NetNewsWire are among the many tools for reading RSS news feeds.

From the user's perspective, RSS is convenient because people consolidate news from a number of Web sites to one central location, according to Sara Grachek, assistant director of multimedia/Web development.

Among the campus pioneers of RSS are University Chronicle and Technology Support Services (TSS). The student-run campus newspaper syndicates stories. TSS feeds technology news and status alerts about communications systems.

The newest St. Cloud State feeds -- news and sports -- were developed by Information Technology & Infrastructure Services (IT & IS), using the RSS 2.0 standard.

RSS is "low-overhead" because the stories published on select Web pages automatically become news feeds without any effort by the page managers, according to Mark Monn, a multimedia/Web developer for IT & IS.

News feeds are useful only on Web pages that have lots of frequently updated news stories, according to Grachek.

RSS is a Web 2.0 technology often used in concert with Social Web tools such as blogs, podcasts and networking sites. 


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