New Media Vocabulary: RSS (Rich Site Summery or Real Simple Syndication)
“RSS Rich Site Summary (originally RDF Site Summary, often dubbed Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS
The way I typical explain RSS and RSS feeds to new users is this…where a web site is designed to be readable by humans, RSS feeds contain the same content as the web site, but they are designed to be consumed by other computer programs, such as RSS Readers, Podcatchers (software the downloads individual podcast files) and other software.
RSS takes the relatively unstructured data that makes up a blog post on a web site and adds tags and meta-data that software can use to perform specialized tasks. One important piece of data is machine-readable date field that can be used to qualify new blog posts and new podcasts that are available for download.
RSS files are simple text files and can be handwritten, if necessary, but usually they are created programmatically by blog software, like WordPress or other custom web site software. RSS files are also extensible so that new tags and new meta-data can be added. For New Media producers this added information includes a series of tags required by iTunes to contain all the specialized information used to build your show entry in the iTunes Podcast directory including the location of your podcast logo, categorization, Podcast Title, Author and more.
People are fond of predicting the death of the RSS, but for myself, I rely deeply on RSS feeds to monitor web sites and bring information to me instead of constantly having to visit hundreds of web sites to check for new information.
Do you have questions, comments or clarifications to this New Media Vocabulary term? Add them to the comments!
For more information on RSS:
Previously on New Media Vocabulary: