Using RSS

RSSI use RSS or 'Really Simple Syndication' to keep an eye on certain areas of this site - be it news about London Underground disputes, or blog entries from my rep. However, many people don't know what it is or how to use it - so I thought it may be of interest or use to some of you for me to have a go at explaining it here.

RSS lets you view all of the internet articles you are interested in, in one place. It is a method of pulling certain articles on a single topic, or by a single person, from a website. These are called feeds. This feed can be subscribed to or followed. These subscribed feeds are then compiled in a 'feed reader' which can be online such as Google Reader or Bloglines, downloadable software, or available in the latest Browsers Such as Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 3.

Imagine you wanted to read all the articles about transport from the Guardian Website, the BBC and Sky News and be able to see new articles as soon as they appeared without having to visit these sites two or three times a day to keep up to date. By subscribing to their RSS feed, they would all appear in your feed reader and as new articles are posted to the individual sites, as you had subscribed to their RSS feeds, they would automatically appear in your feed reader.

In my reader I follow tweets from the RMT at, articles tagged 'London Underground' and those tagged 'Disputes' on this site as well as relevant articles from numerous transport sites and political blogs. If I did this by skimming through various areas of all these websites it would take hours to check everything, but by subscribing to these sites feeds the information is right in front of me and can be skimmed through in minutes.

To see if a blog or section of a site can be subscribed to you will usually see the icon above. Most feed readers also have a search bar so you can search through feeds on relevant subjects.

If you want to find out more have a look at this Wiki entry and if you have an email account with one of the big providers such as MSN, AOL, Yahoo, Google and many more, they'll most likely have a feed reader and a guide on how to use it.

Google Reader
My MSN - go to add content and RSS optiom
My AOL - add RSS feeds to your page
My Yahoo - click on add content and add RSS

Wikipedia article on RSS