Education International
Education International

Get the latest news with EI’s RSS feeds

published 5 June 2008 updated 5 June 2008

News feeds, also called RSS feeds or RSS channels, offer an easy and time-saving way to follow the latest developments in your areas of interest.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) has become a veritable buzz word when speaking about the newest trends in internet technology. But what exactly are RSS feeds and how can they be used? News feeds allow you to see instantly if websites have added new content. You can get the latest headlines and usually a summary of the full article, as soon as it is published, without having to visit the website that offers the feed. At first, the variety of names and formats collectively summarized under the term RSS may seem a little confusing, but all this range of configurations has much in common: RSS feeds are basically web pages built to be initially read by computers, who process them to output a more “user-friendly” view. How then can you make use of these feeds? In general, the first thing you need is a so-called news reader. Such a programme automatically checks the feeds you have subscribed to and lets you read any new articles that have been added. Again, there are quite a number of applications to choose from, and your choice depends on your preferences. Some browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Safari, automatically check for feeds when you visit a website, and display a small orange icon in their address bar when they find one. When you click on that icon, the feed is added as a “dynamic bookmark,” which will automatically update once new articles come on-line. Another simple solution is to add RSS feeds to your e-mail client. New articles will thus arrive in your inbox as would new messages, and you can read them there, too. All modern e-mail clients, such as Thunderbird, Opera or Evolution, support this functionality. Once you have chosen a news reader that fits your requirements, you just need to decide what content you want to subscribe to. That can be done in various ways, for example by using the aforementioned “dynamic bookmarks” or by simply dragging or cutting and pasting the URL of the feed into your news reader. Most feeds are given prominence by a standard orange icon, but some may just be marked by a text link. To try out RSS, go to the EI RSS library (http://www.ei-ie.org/en/rss/), subscribe to one or more feeds on topics of your interest there – and stay up to date easily and for free! By Timo Linsenmaier

This article was published in Worlds of Education, Issue 26, June 2008.