RSS Feeds and Aggregators

What does RSS stand for? There seems to be no agreement on this issue. Among the contenders: Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary,

An RSS document is a feed. Feeds can be easily gathered with an aggregator. That is, fans of a blog or a news source do not have to actually visit each of the sites they love each day hoping for updates to read. When a blog or news or media source or an established search is updated, the user can have the new post automatically sent to their aggregator or reader.

RSS feeds can be important to teacher librarians in several ways.

• You will want to subscribe to a number of TL blogs to keep up in the field.
• You can have these feeds sent to your blogs or Nings or wikis or information portals to keep them fresh and to lead your community to relevant news.
• You will want to encourage your faculty and your students to learn to have the information they regularly need pushed to them rather than having them have to go out and pull it. Some of the databases students regularly use for research allow them to set up feeds for their searches. When more content is added to the database, students get updates.
• You will want to encourage your community to set up feeds to your own library’s blogs and other content.
• Feeds can be very useful in setting up pathfinders for student and teacher use. For instance a Spanish teacher and her students might value a pathfinder that includes feeds from news sources in the Spanish language. A science teacher might want to establish a group of feeds to keep students up to date on news in the sciences.

You can choose among a variety of aggregators:

Google Reader http://reader.google.com
BlogLines http://www.bloglines.com/
Feedbucket http://www.feedbucket.com/
Feedburner http://www.feedburner.com/

Once you have set up your aggregator, look for the orange and white RSS logo to subscribe to feeds.

Another way to establish feeds in a larger way is to create personal information portals using such widget- or gadget-based tools at iGoogle http://google.com/ig, PageFlakes http://pageflakes.com, or NetVibes http://netvibes.com or MyYahoo! http://my.yahoo.com/