Monday, September 22, 2008

Why Use RSS?

Some PRA Members have asked me for more details on the PRA Blog and RSS (Really Simple Syndication). Click here to learn more about RSS. I've been asked "What the heck is RSS and why should I care what it is"? I just read a great article on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Blog titled "Why Use RSS?"

I use RSS feeds on my Google home page and I receive other RSS feeds in my e-mail software program (Outlook). These RSS feeds help keep me current on a variety of topics ranging to today's headlines to Dick Eastman's Online Blog.

Try it, you'll like it! Especially the PRA Blog!

Here's a brief portion of his article to get you started:

"Why Use RSS?

Browse-and-wait, browse-and-wait. Did you ever try to check twenty web sites every day for news? How about fifty? one hundred? Entering all the addresses, clicking on icons, waiting for web pages to display in your browser, and all the other delays makes for a waste of time.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all your web browser's bookmarks could in some way tell you if a site has new data on it since the last time you checked? Your computer would only display the new changes, ignoring any sites that have not changed since the last time? RSS does that and does it well.

Most all news sites, blogs, and other web sites with frequently-changing information now offer RSS feeds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) has many uses but perhaps the most popular is to simplify the process of users checking the site for newly-posted information. The EOGN (Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter) web site has supplied RSS feeds for more than four years and more than 1,000 people now use an RSS reader every day to check for new articles on the site. I assume those same people use their RSS readers to check other web sites as well.

With most any modern RSS reader, you can access information faster and more easily than with regular web browsers. There is no need to type in URLs, wait for pages to load, search through web pages or to navigate between web sites. Better yet, you can view all information later in offline mode at your convenience; you don't have to be connected when reading the new information (although your computer obviously needs to be connected when it scans all the sites for new information).

RSS is very non-intrusive; it will not get in your way. It only checks and notifies you of changes whenever you tell it to."