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Wiki Main Page > School Library Tech Camp > 5 & 6: RSS


School Library Tech Camp - Things 5 & 6  : RSS & Research Organizers




Do you read blogs? Visit news sites? Listen to podcasts? Check for weather alerts? Search databases for the same information over and over to get the latest info? If you do any of these things, you can stop going to those sites to find the information and have the infornation come to you instead!


RSS (or Really Simple Syndication) makes it possible for you to get a steady stream of updates from your favorite web sites without having to constantly check to see what's new.


My RSS flickr pic: oversimplified explanation!

rss sketch

(PDF of RSS Slides)


Basically RSS lets information from one web site to appear on another web site and for it to be updated whenever the original site is updated. This opens up all sorts of possiblities for re-using information and creating our own 'mix and match' web pages.


  • Aggregate Information: bring lots of RSS feeds together in a feed reader like Bloglines or Google Reader. Scan lots of content quickly.
  • Student Research Organizers: RSS feeds from newspapers, magazines, news sites, databases and other sites can help students keep up to date on their research topics. RSS does the fetching and students do the sorting, sifting and thinking! Netvibes and iGoogle are popular tools for creating this type of site.
  • Subject Guides that update themselves: Use RSS from your account, news sources, magazines, etc. to create subject guides for students that don't need lots of updating.


Examples in Schools


Sample Research Organizers

  • Iran Elections - A NetVibes page with news feeds from multiple sources.
  • Darfur  - A pageflakes page created by Will Richardson. He talks about uses of these types of pages on his blog.
  • Another Darfur page - this is a page based on Will Richardson's page, showing how easy it is to share and build on other's work. On this page, I've included an RSS feed of articles from an EBSCO database search. This brings great content out of the depths of our databases!
  • Student Organizer sample - this sample is a page I set up on Google's home page service.


RSS Activity 1


Set up iGoogle page and add a variety of feeds to it. This will give you your own personal web page where you can keep up with blogs and other news. And help you find resources for your students.


  • Go to
  • If you already have a Google account, sign in.
  • If not, create one. It’s handy to have one to try out all the services Google is now providing.
  • After you create your account, you’ll be returned to the home page service.
  • Your page has some default content on it.
  • Customize the weather box by adding a zip code.
  • Content can be deleted by clicking on the x in the top right corner.


Adding Content

  • Click the Add Stuff link and start browsing. There’s a ton of stuff you can add to your page.
  • Narrow down the options by selecting a category on the left sidebar.
  • Or search by keyword in the box at the top.
  • To add something, click on Add it Now
  • Return to your page to see the content – Back to Homepage link at top left


Add a Tab

  • Click on the triangle at the end of the HOME tab, click on ADD A TAB
  • Give the tab a name and click on OK.
  • If your tab has a common name, content will automatically be added. Try adding a tab for: health, science, travel, golf, sports, etc.


Move things around

  • Grab an item by the blue bar to move things around. Click, hold and drag it to where you want it.
  • To move something to a different tab, drag it and drop it on the new tab.


RSS Activity 2


Add some feeds to your iGoogle page

  • Visit one of your favorite blogs or news sites.
  • Look for the RSS logo, subscribe link, feed link, etc.
  • Click on that link. If your browser asks you if you want to subscribe to the content, opt to subscribe with iGoogle.
  • If the browser doesn't ask you to subscribe, copy the URL of the page..
  • Back at your Google page, click on Add Stuff
  • Then look for the ADD RSS FEED link on the left side of the page.
  • Paste the URL into the box and click Add
  • If it’s successful, you’ll see the link below the box and a checkmark. The content will have been added to your page.


A selection of school library blogs:


Some more places to find RSS feeds:

  • Google News - do a search and get a custom RSS feed for that search.
  • NYTimes - Book Reviews, news and more
  • Databases - Check to see if the databases your library subscribes to has RSS feeds!


More Resources


More to explore:


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