November 12, 2011 — Juliet Armstrong

Welcome to Openescent. This blog will feature information technology subjects of interest to those in the non-profit sector. Subscribe to our RSS feed using your favorite RSS feed reader. If you're not sure what RSS or RSS feed readers are? Read on.

RSS is a tool that bloggers use to share (or syndicate) their content beyond their website. Readers of a blog who subscribe to an RSS feed can follow a blog without having to visit the website that hosts that blog. By using a feed reader, you can follow all the blogs you enjoy in one place, without having to visit a bunch of different websites. RSS also provides a way for other websites to present the contents of an off-site blog. Web sites can use RSS feed aggregators to display blog posts from another site on their own site. For example, see Openescent's News section. Here, we aggregate some off-site IT news feeds of interest to those in the non-profit sector. Most modern content management systems* make it easy for a website to display RSS content from other sites.

Think of RSS as a way of getting news delivered to your doorstep. Once you subscribe to a blog, you just check your feed reader for all the latest news. Whatever RSS feeds you've subscribed to will show up there -- all your news shows up in one handy place!

So, where can you find one of these feed readers? An easy way to get started is to use Google Reader. Google Reader is nice because, like GMail, it's accessible from any web browser, anywhere you have an internet connection. Google has a nice tutorial video on Google Reader that explains RSS feeds, as well as how to get started with Google Reader:

You can also get feed readers that are apps you install on your computer. The disadvantage of these is that you can only use them on the machine you've installed the feed reader on. An example of such a feed reader app (for Mac) is NetNewsWire. You can also get readers that are extensions of your web browser such as Sage. To explore all the different possibilities you may want to look at the long list of RSS feed readers over at Wikipedia.

Happy feed reading! And don't forget to subscribe to our feed by pasting this link: http://www.openescent.com/blog/feed into your favorite feed reader.

*We will discuss content management systems in another post!