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What is RSS?

by Ed Hagen last modified Aug 04, 2009 11:49 PM

The AAPA site now publishes two RSS feeds, one for general news and a second for job postings.


RSS icon


For those of you who don't know, RSS feeds are basically a way for new internet content to come to you, instead of you having to surf to it. In other words, instead of having to periodically check a website for changes, you are automatically notified when a website with an RSS "feed" changes.


How does this work? First, you must choose an RSS reader, also known as a feed aggregator. These are built into Firefox, Safari, and IE7 and later. There are also online readers, such as Google Reader, and custom applications that you can download.


Then, using your reader of choice, you must "subscribe" to the RSS feed. Feeds are URL's that start with "feed://". In Firefox and Safari you can subscribe by clicking a special RSS icon that automatically appears in the URL address bar on any page with an RSS feed (for us, that's the home page and the job-postings page). A webpage with all the published items for that page will appear. You must then "bookmark" that page -- Firefox will provide a "subscribe" button; in Safari, use the normal "Add bookmark..." menu item. In IE7, an RSS icon appears on the toolbar; click it to add the RSS feed.


In Safari, if you add the bookmark to your bookmarks bar, you will see a number appear next to it whenever there are new items you haven't read yet. In Firefox, if you add the bookmark to the bookmark toolbar, you can click on it to see the new items. (I'm not sure how IE7 works, but it's probably similar.) The new items consist of a title, brief description, and link back to the original website.


My favorite way to subscribe to RSS feeds is to use Apple Mail (this only works on the latest version of OS X, 10.5 Leopard and later). To use Apple Mail, first follow the procedure for Safari as described above, but instead of bookmarking the RSS feed, look to the lower right hand side of the page and you will see a "Subscribe in Mail" link. Click it, and you can add the feed to Mail -- it will show up among your folders, on the left hand side. Then, when a new item is published on that website, you will get an email (right click on the feed and select "Show in Inbox" for the new items to show up in your inbox).


Use our News and Job Postings feeds to keep track of newly posted announcements and jobs without having to remember to visit the AAPA site. (Remember, to subscribe to the news or job posting feed using the above methods, you must be viewing the home page or job postings page, respectively. You can also copy the feed URL's in the links at the top of this article into your favorite reader/aggregator.)

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