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RSS - Three Myths Busted (in Really Simple English)

ResearchtoReality.Cancer.gov now has an RSS Feed! You’ve seen the little orange symbol on other Web sites (looks like this: RSS icon or   and sometimes this:  ) and you probably know that the symbol stands for RSS (Really Simple Syndication). But you’ve never signed up for one because…

  • you don’t understand why it’s used 
  • ....or how it works--when you click on the RSS link, you just see a page of code...
  • you don’t have an RSS Feed Reader
  • you’re not actually sure what an RSS reader is...
  • you do know what a feed reader is, but you don't want to use one..
  • you don’t want to be a part of yet another listserv…

If any of the above are true for you, read on.

Myth: I’d like to know about the latest content on ResearchtoReality.Cancer.gov, but I don’t need RSS.

RSS is one of the fastest, most efficient way to stay informed and receive the latest content from R2R as well as other sites that you’re interested in. It allows content publishers like R2R team make the latest news, blog posts, and other content available to subscribers. You’re busy, right? Then you’ll be happy to know that RSS saves time because instead of looking for the new content, “what’s new” comes to you.

Myth: An RSS is the same as a listserv.

RSS is not a listserv. When you sign up for updates, you will receive the latest content for that RSS and ONLY the content for that RSS. There is no list maintained with your e-mail address, name or other personal information.

The other benefit to RSS is that individuals opt-in to content of interest, totally controlling the flow of information that they receive. If the quality of the content in the feed declines, you can unsubscribe at any time and you will not receive any additional updates.

Myth: I need an RSS Feed Reader to get RSS updates.

Feed Readers allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use. A variety of RSS Readers are available for different platforms. Some popular feed readers include FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows - integrates with Outlook). There are also a number of web-based feed readers available (like My Yahoo, Bloglines, and Google Reader). They’re free.

BUT if you have no idea what Feed Readers are (or hate them), that’s OK too! You can also view RSS content in Microsoft Office Outlook and other common e-mail servers and keep it separate from your regular mail so that you can see it when you need it.

Hopefully now the idea of subscribing to an RSS feed is really as simple as the name implies.  Questions or tips for others? Post them here -

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