About RSS & How to Use It
What is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It's an easy way for you to keep up with news and updates from a variety of websites without having to visit each site. The information you want can be delivered right to you whenever it's updated, automatically. RSS is becoming more popular and you'll find many sites now offering RSS feeds.
What is an RSS feed?
An RSS feed contains information for a particular topic from a website, such as state government press releases. Each content item in a feed (for example, each news story) typically includes a headline or title along with a link to the full content online. By subscribing to the feed, you will automatically receive the latest content to your feed reader software, and you'll be able to see what's new at a glance without visiting the source website.
What is an RSS feed reader?
An RSS feed reader or "aggregator" is a small software program that collects and organizes feed content and provides simple ways to read it. It allows you to scan headlines from a number of news sources in one location, so you can spend less time searching for content and more time enjoying it.
How do I get an RSS feed reader?
Some browsers, such as the current versions of Firefox and Safari, have RSS readers built in. If you're using a browser that doesn't currently support RSS, there are a variety of RSS readers available online. Some are free to download and others are available for purchase. List of RSS Readers (BlogSpace)
Some popular free feed reader programs:
- SharpReader for Windows 98 or later. This reader is simple, without a lot of features, but works well.
- FeedReader for Windows 98 or later. This reader has advanced features and options for more "tech-savvy" users.
- BlogLines for anyone with a web browser. This reader is useful for anyone who cannot install one of the other readers for some reason.
How do I get started using RSS feeds?
The first step is to choose an RSS feed reader and install it on your computer. Each reader has a slightly different way of adding a new feed, also called a "channel". Follow the directions for your reader, but in most cases, here's how it works:
- When you see a feed link on a website, click on the link or small RSS button for the feed. From your browser, copy the URL (web address) that appears in your address bar. Paste that URL into the 'Add New Channel' section of the reader. The RSS feed will start to display and regularly update the headlines for you.
- Or, right-click on the link or RSS button to "copy shortcut" or "copy target address" and then paste the address into your feed reader.
- Some feed readers will "auto-discover" RSS feeds on sites you visit, so you don't have to cut and paste. Check the instructions for your feed reader software for more information.
How do I know when an RSS feed is available?
View a list of Maine.gov RSS Feeds. RSS news feeds are often marked with small orange icons, such as RSS or XML. The icon used on Maine.gov looks like this:
These icons usually link to the address that you'll need to copy into your feed reader software in order to subscribe to the feed. Some feed readers will "auto-discover" RSS feeds on sites you visit, so you don't have to cut and paste.
What kind of RSS does the State of Maine use?
The Maine.gov portal uses the RSS 2.0 format.