Introduction to RSS

What’s the big deal?

You’re hearing more and more about “RSS,” “news feeds,” “XML,” “add this to bloglines,” or other buzz words that all refer to the same, relatively simple idea:

More and more web sites, from the New York Times to the national ASQ web site, are “syndicating” their content.

What this means is that in addition to publishing their content on the web, they also make available a description of the content (particularly their “news”) that allows the “headlines” to be republished in several ways.

Ok. So what’s the big deal???

Well, once those headlines are available, they can be “aggregated” by tools that either

  1. Produce “personal web newspapers,” or
  2. Redisplay the headlines on other, partner sites

As an individual, this means that you can quickly scan headlines from several sites by using an “aggregator”. (Most readers of “blogs” don’t “check back often” to look for new content — they use aggregators.) There are dozens of aggregators available. Ask the person who normally helps you with computer questions, or check out

  • websites that are providing these “personal newspapers” like bloglines, the “personalized” Google, or
  • desktop tools like RSSOwl.

For companies, check to see if the content on your website is being syndicated. If it is and your news is apt to be of interest to ASQ Raleigh members, talk to us about syndicating the content on the ASQ web site.

Ok, really. Please cut to the chase!

Check out

  • The Quality page on this web site. See those headlines under the “ASQ News” header? Those are coming directly from www.asq.org (web site to web site, untouched by any webmaster’s hands).

If you are using IE 7 or Firefox or another “RSS aware” browser, try clicking this link to get a quick view of the news on the ASQ site. At the top of the page you should see a “subscribe” option. If you select that you’ll put a “live bookmark” into your browser — ever after, just clicking that will bring up the list of headlines. If you are particularly interested in just part of the “news” from the ASQ Raleigh site (the Six Sigma SIG announcements, or the job postings, say) you can find the “rss feeds” for those individual topics on the “Archives” page.

So????

Well, getting the headlines from one site may not seem like such a big deal. But what about 10? or 100? And what if they were all displayed in a personal “newspaper” that you could quickly scan to keep up to date with the topics of interest to you? To get a taste of what that would be like, again, check out bloglines or iGoogle.

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