Assignment: RSS Feeds and Aggregators

June 13, 2006

Our team was given an assignment to understand RSS, both feeds and aggregators.  I think we were confused about the terms "readers" and "aggregators" — they seem to be the same thing.  Aggregators allow you to look at your selected feeds.  Different aggregators present the information in different ways.  I use RSS Popper, which presents short summaries of blog posts as individual emails; the emails can be grouped by feed into different Outlook folders. presents the summaries "aggregated" on a web page.  The various tools (RSS Popper, Bloglines, etc.) examine your subscription list and check those websites for updated feeds.

RSS feeds are XML documents that are published to a web page. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication; it is a particular XML document format.  The feed contains summaries of the various items on the web site.  When something new is published, it automatically goes out on the feed.  There are a variety of tools that generate RSS feeds.

Here is an article by Robin Good that I found useful on the topic:  Intranet 2.0: Collaboration, Self-Publishing And Tools Mash-up New Driving Forces