What is RSS?

A few people have noticed the RSS links on the top of our Announcements and Alerts pages and asked what RSS is and how to subscribe to it. RSS (which stands for "Really Simple Syndication") is a standard way to format dated content such as blog posts or newspaper articles. It's helpful to format these in a standard way so they can be understood by other applications such as a news reader phone app.

For example, let's say you are really interested in learning how to cook, and you find 20 fantastic food blogs and 5 newspaper recipe pages. You could bookmark all 25 of these websites and visit them every day to see if something's new, but that would be a lot of work! Instead, you could use a feed reader to display all the new content in one place. You can open a single app or website and see what's new.

If this sounds exciting, you might be wondering what feed reader to use. That's a matter of preference, and we don't recommend or support a specific product at Brown. It depends whether you want to read on a computer or a smartphone, and if there are other features you're looking for like social networking integration or slick design. Here are a few favorites:

For example, if you wanted to subscribe to our IT at Brown alerts, you would right-click (PC) or control-click (Mac) on the RSS link at the top of the Alerts page and copy the link address.

Next, you would open your preferred RSS reader and paste the link wherever you are able to add feeds. Here's what it looks like in Feedly: