"RSS" stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and is a file format used on the Internet for packaging information from one site or application to be easily incorporated into another site or application. This process is usually referred to as "syndicating" a site, or providing an RSS "feed." The official technical specification for RSS has much more detail on the format and usage of RSS feeds.
Briefly, RSS provides automatic notification when new content is added to a website. A few examples are:
Because the goal of RSS feeds is flexibility, there are many ways that you can incorporate RSS-based information into your day-to-day information gathering workflow. Choosing your "feeder" will depend on your individual needs and circumstances. For example, will you always access your RSS information from a single computer? Would you like to incorporate RSS into your regular email client?
Listed below are four of the more popular methods of setting up RSS feeds, with related advantages and disadvantages. Step-by-step procedures are not included here; instead please check the site's help section (look for keywords like "reader" or "rss" or "live bookmarks"). As always, don't hesitate to ask for assistance.
Most e-mail client software (Apple Mail, Outlook, etc.) make it very easy to subscribe to RSS feeds. Just check the help section of your client.
Many web browsers will alert you that a web site contains subscribable feeds (look for the RSS icon or similar notification in the address bar of your browser). Mozilla Firefox will let you add RSS feeds to your Bookmark list, with new RSS feed items showing up as an automatically updated collection of bookmark links. Safari allows you to set up RSS feeds in Apple mail and will even let you incorporate RSS feed items into a screensaver.
This category of reader is specifically designed for retreiving, consolidating and displaying RSS-based information and normally provide a wide range of options for how the information is displayed.
As an alternative to using stand-alone aggregators that you run on your local computer, these let you create an account and subscribe to your favorite RSS feeds via a web page.