Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Anatomy of a Blog: Subscribe to this Blog!

Today's post will continue our Anatomy of a Blog series by describing how you can keep up with this blog (or other blogs and news websites) by subscribing. Instead of coming to us to see if we have posted anything new, we come to you and let you know we've written something new.

Any website that provides an RSS feed will allow you to subscribe to updates for that site. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary" and you will see RSS feeds on blogs, news websites, and other websites. Many of the Library research databases we provide for your use include RSS feeds that allow you to set up "alerts" that let you know when new articles are published on a topic you define. I'll be writing a blog post specifically about the Alert feature on our databases in the future.

So how do you use an RSS feed? It's pretty easy. You can subscribe to this blog in a feed reader by clicking "Subscribe in a Reader" located in the right sidebar of this blog, or clicking "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" at the bottom of this blog. An easy way to locate the link to subscribe to a blog or other regularly updated website is to look for the orange RSS feed icon (just like the one to the right of this paragraph).

About now you might be wondering what a feed reader is and how you can get one. That's easy too! A feed reader is software that lets you "grab" the RSS feeds from various sites and display the updates to those sites in one location. A variety of free feed readers are available. You generally set up an account on a feed reader site and then log in to that site daily, or however often you desire, and review the new items that have appeared. Two feed readers you might want to try are: Google Reader and Bloglines.

View the YouTube video "RSS in Plain English" by Common Craft for more information:

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