Application of RSS Feeds in Library

Introduction:

The change that is happening in the information industry over the years is astonishing. The convergence of information technology and information science has paved the way for introducing many new services with the help of contemporary technologies. It is estimated that in 2000 the volume of information on the public Web was 20 to 50 terabyte in 2003 the volume of information on the Web grew up to 167 terabytes at least triple the amount of information. The surface-web is about 167 terabyte as of summer 2003. Bright Planet estimates the deep-web to be 400 to 450 times larger, thus between 66,800 and 91,850 terabytes. Some estimate that the volume of information on the web is doubling every four months. Given the sheer size of the web and the rapidity with which new information gets added and existing information changes, finding relevant documents could sometimes be worse than searching a needle in a haystack.

Technology, to some extent has been responsible for aggregating the problem of information explosion. It has allowed information to grow with any control mechanism. Internet is a classic for all the chaos. Goggling for a piece of information from internet throws at us mountains from which we have to find what we want. Over the years, to overcome all this problem number of strategies and technologies are used. Some of the important strategies and technologies are web search tools, subject directories, Meta search tools, subject specific and specially search engine. But those strategies were proved less competent with the like blogs, social bookmaking tools and RSS have to some extent helped users to keep away from the bandwagon of information explosion and helping them to keep abreast
with new developments in their respective field.

Keeping in view the study is undertaken to explore these possibilities of RSS technology

History/Background:

The variety of icons representing Really Simple Syndication today may account for some of misunderstanding of RSS. However, this confusion can also be attributable to the various specifications and formats associated with the syndication of website content. In 2002, there were at least seven different versions and two different formats of RSS. Some of these are considered informal specifications, such as RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0.

The RSS formats were preceded by several attempts at web syndication that did not achieve widespread popularity. The basic idea of restructuring information about websites goes back to as early as 1995, when Ram Nathan, V. Guha and others in Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group developed the Meta Content Framework.

RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary, the first version of RSS, was created by Guha at Netscape in March 1999 for use on the My.Netscape.Com portal. This version became known as RSS 0.9. In July 1999, Dan Libby of Netscape produced a new version, RSS 0.91, which simplified the format by removing RDF elements and incorporating elements from Dave Winer’s scripting News syndication format. Libby also renamed RSS “Rich Site Summary” and outlined further development of the format in a “futures document”.

This would be Netscape’s last participation in RSS development for eight years. As RSS was being embraced by web publishers who wanted their feeds to be used on My.Netscape.Com and other early RSS portals, Netscape dropped RSS support from My.Netscape.Com in April 2001 during new owner AOL’s restructuring of the company, also removing documentation and tools that supported the format.

Two entities emerged to fill the void, with neither Netscape’s help nor approval: The RSS-DEV Working Group and Winer, who’s User Land Software, had published some of the first publishing tools outside of Netscape that
could read and write RSS.

Winer published a modified version of the RSS 0.91 specification on the User Land website, covering how it was being used in his company’s products, and claimed copyright to the document. A few months later, User Land filed a U.S. trademark registration for RSS, but failed to respond to a USPTO trademark examiner’s request and the request was rejected in December 2001.

The RSS-DEV Working Group, a project whose members included Guha and representatives of O’Reilly Media and moreover, produced RSS 1.0 in December 2000. This new version, which reclaimed the name RDF Site Summary from RSS 0.9, reintroduced support for RDF and added XML namespaces support, adopting elements from standard metadata vocabularies such as Dublin Core.

In December 2000, Winer released RSS 0.92 a minor set of changes aside from the introduction of the enclosure element, which permitted audio files to be carried in RSS feeds and helped spark pod casting. He also released drafts of RSS 0.93 and RSS 0.94 that were withdrawn subsequently.

In September 2002, Winer released a major new version of the format, RSS 2.0 that redubbed its initials Really Simple Syndication. RSS 2.0 removed the type attribute added in the RSS 0.94 draft and added support for namespaces. To preserve backward compatibility with RSS 0.92, namespace support applies only to other content included within an RSS 2.0 feed, not the RSS 2.0 elements themselves. (Although other standards such as Atom attempt to correct this limitation, RSS feeds are not aggregated with other content often enough to shift the popularity from RSS to other formats having full namespace support.)

Because neither Winer nor the RSS-DEV Working Group had Netscape’s involvement, they could not make an official claim on the RSS name or format. This has fuelled ongoing controversy in the syndication development community as to which entity was the proper publisher of RSS.

One product of that contentious debate was the creation of an alternative syndication format, Atom that began in June 2003. The Atom syndication format, whose creation was in part motivated by a desire to get a clean start free of the issues surrounding RSS, has been adopted as IETF Proposed Standard RFC 4287. In July 2003, Winer and User Land Software assigned the copyright of the RSS 2.0 specification to Harvard’s Berkman Centre for Internet & Society, where he had just begun a term as a visiting fellow. At the same time, Winer launched the RSS Advisory Board with Brent Simmons and Jon Udell, a group whose purpose was to maintain and publish the specification and answer questions about the format.

In December 2005, the Microsoft Internet Explorer team and Outlook team announced on their blogs that they were adopting the feed icon first used in the Mozilla Fire fox browser. In February 2006, Opera Software followed suit. This effectively made the orange square with white radio waves the industry standard for RSS and Atom feeds, replacing the large variety of icons and text that had been used previously to identify syndication data.

In January 2006, Rogers Cadenhead relaunched the RSS Advisory Board without Dave Winer’s participation, with a stated desire to continue the development of the RSS format and resolve ambiguities. In June 2007, the board revised their version of the specification to confirm that namespaces may extend core elements with namespace attributes, as Microsoft has done in Internet Explorer.

Fortunately, a practical understanding of RSS does not depend on the nuances of its various versions, nor does a single RSS specification seem to dominate the web content syndication space. Therefore, we use the terms “Really Simple Syndication” and “RSS” generically, and describe it as a technology that allows web content providers to automatically share, or syndicate, their web content to consumers who subscribe to that content. From the provider perspective, RSS is potentially “one of the most important developments in the distribution of media content in a number of years”.

Version of RSS:

The different versions of RSS, falling into two major branches, RDF, or RSS.

1. Branch includes the following versions:

  • RSS 0.90 was the original Netscape RSS version. This RSS was called RDF Site Summary, but was based on an early working draft of the RDF standard, and was not compatible with the final RDF Recommendation.
  • RSS 1.0 is an open format by the RSS-DEV Working Group, again standing for RDF Site Summary. RSS 1.0 is an RDF format likes RSS 0.90, and since RSS 1.0 is based on the final RDF 1.0 Recommendation so it is not fully compatible with the earlier.
  • RSS 1.1 is also an open format and is intended to update and replace RSS 1.0. The specification is an independent draft not supported or endorsed in any way by the RSS-Dev Working Group or any other organization.

2. The RSS 2.0 Branch (initially User Land, now Harvard) includes the following versions:

  • RSS 0.91 is the simplified RSS version released by Netscape. This Netscape version was now called Rich Site Summary, this was no longer an RDF format, but was relatively easy to use.
  • RSS 0.92 through 0.94 are expansions of the RSS 0.91 format, which are mostly compatible with each other and with Winer’s version of RSS 0.91, but are not compatible with RSS 0.90.
  • RSS 2.0.1 has the internal version number 2.0, RSS 2.0.1 was proclaimed to be “frozen”, but still updated shortly after release without changing the version number. RSS now stood for Really Simple Syndication. The major change in this version is an explicit extension mechanism using XML namespaces.

 

Concept of RSS:

While the concept for RSS emerged in 1997 with the release of channels in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 4.0 browser, the first version of RDF Site Summary (RSS) emerged in 1999. It is also identified by several other names including Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, Real-time Simple Syndication, and others. While it has suffered from “the name game,” like many XML-based technologies has been comparatively slow to grab a practical foothold on the Web.

Although many news and advertising sites are now using RSS for real-time distribution, the base of consumers receiving RSS feeds remains primarily early adopters. According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, showed that only nine percent of those online knew what RSS feeds were and understood the possibilities that they presented. However, the generation who grew up on computer technology is now quickly adding to the base of people receiving RSS feeds. In fact, 12 percent of Internet users in the United States ages 18 to 29 already have a working knowledge of what the term RSS means. Additionally, the explosion of wireless technologies has helped to fuel this growth. The number of RSS feeds grew from 307,000 in January of 2004 to over 13 million in August of 2005.

In 2005, OCLC conducted a survey of Internet users in Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States to determine their familiarity with and use of sixteen types of electronic resources, including blogs and RSS feeds. Only 5% of all respondents-6% of Canadians surveyed—had used RSS once or more, and 75% of respondents in both the total sample and the Canadian subset had never heard of RSS.

An Ipsos Insight survey that was also conducted in 2005 found that even though only 4% of respondents said that they had used RSS, an additional 27% of respondents were unknowingly using RSS via personalized Internet start pages such as My Yahoo! And My MSN. This is more than 20 times the number of new feeds emerging during the same period.

A SlashDot survey predicts that RSS will continue to grow dramatically in the coming years. As an Internet technology, RSS is most widely used for the instant organization and distribution of a wide variety of information that are available on the World Wide Web (WWW). Asmus, Bonner, Esterhay, Lechner and Rentfrow (2005) comment that due to the simple and easy-to-use interface, RSS has become an essential web publishing vehicle. RSS works by allowing content distributors to syndicate brief snippets of content and post it as an RSS (XML) file on the Web. Most RSS files include a title, brief description, and a link where the user can follow-up to retrieve the “full-story.”

Those who wish to receive RSS content use special applications called RSS aggregators to “subscribe” RSS feeds. Once subscribed to a feed, the consumer is immediately notified in some manner when a new item is added to an RSS feed by its publisher. In this way, RSS feeds provide an active information mechanism on the Web whereby consumers can know immediately of distributors’ information, rather than having to constantly return to a web site for recently released information.

There are a variety of standalone RSS aggregators, and some browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer 7, include RSS functions within them. It should also be noted that RSS consumption is not limited to desktop applications alone—PDAs, cell phones, and other wireless devices can be set up to receive RSS feeds. While the original goals of RSS may be loftier, the use for RSS feeds has become a mechanism for creating content summaries of web sites to which users subscribe and receive notification. Passivity is the biggest limitation of web sites—users must access the site to see what is new. RSS is one of many technologies that provide an active method for attracting traffic and individual consumer attention and is gaining popularity for this specific purpose.

What is RSS?

In the Information Age, people use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Technology to help them to easily get the latest contents from websites by accessing only single website as well as by using mobile devices.

RSS STANDS FOR:

➢ Rich Site Summary (Myadbase 2007)
➢Really Simply Syndication (Chrsolutions 2007)
➢RDF (Resource Description Framework) Site Summary (Mason 2007) and even

RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication and Rich Site Summary. RSS is an XML based format for content distribution. Webmasters create an RSS file containing headlines and description of specific information. While the majority of RSS feeds currently contain news headlines or breaking information. The long term uses of RSS are broad.

RSS uses an extensive mark up language (XML) based format for content distribution and to constantly scan the content of Web sites for their latest updates, including, for example, news headlines, events, journal tables of content, database searches, Web logs, or audio files. These updates are then automatically delivered to the subscribers’ computers or mobile devices through an RSS feed. RSS has become one of the most popular tools for sharing and distributing news and any other Web-based content where timeliness is valued. This valuable and easy-to-use tool enables professionals to stay current with little effort and gives them complete control over how they receive information. New, updated information is automatically received without the need to remember to check Web” sites of interest manually or to clutter one’s e-mail inbox.

RSS is a way for Web sites to continuously ‘feed’ you announcements of their latest content, with links to each new item. To learn instantly what’s new on a site, you can just check its RSS feed. So that you can check the various feeds from one place. If you think of RSS feeds as Web-feeds or news-feeds, then you can forget about the technical aspects of RSS altogether. If you usually keep an eye on Web sites and their updated news pages by keeping a list of favorites and then visiting those favorite pages periodically, or by subscribing to lots of e-mail news letters, then RSS feeds should be for you. They make it easy and efficient to keep track of the latest content published by your favorite sites. For those who want a little more technical detail, an RSS feed is a page of text surrounded by a lot of coding. In the same way that a Web page is a file that uses HTML coding to determine how the page is displayed, RSS is a file that uses XML (Extensible Mark-up Language) to encode headlines, titles and text so that they can be read by an RSS reader.

For instance, say you are a library science teacher and you have found 20 or 30 Weblog and media sites on the Internet that are consistently publishing it? Well, that is exactly what RSS feeds allows you to do by using a type of software called an “aggregator” or feed collector. The aggregator checks the feeds you subscribe to, usually every hour, and it collects all the new content from those sites you are subscribed to. Then, when you are ready, you open up your aggregator to read the individual stories, file them for later use, click through to the site itself, or delete them if they are not relevant. In other words, you check one site instead of 30 not bad trade offs for a typically harried teacher.

What does RSS Look like?

In April of 2006, an attempt was made to standardize the icon used to indicate content was available in the form of a feed. This icon can be any color, and is represented by the small square portraying broadcast signals:

Here is an example of how RSS is used:

  • A publisher has some content that they want to publicize.
  • They create an RSS channel for their content.
  • In this channel, they include items for web pages they want to promote.
  • This channel can be read by remote applications, and converted to headlines and links.
  • People see the links on various sites, click on them, and go to the original publisher’s site.

While headline syndication is the most common use for RSS, it is also used for many other purposes. RSS is a very popular format in the web log community. It is also used for photo diaries, classified and listing, recipes, reviews, and for tracking the status of software packages.

They create an RSS channel for their content.

  • In this channel, they include items for web pages they want to promote.
  • This channel can be read by remote applications, and converted to headlines and links.
  • People see the links on various sites, click on them, and go to the original publisher’s site.

 

While headline syndication is the most common use for RSS, it is also used for many other purposes. RSS is a very popular format in the web log community. It is also used for photo diaries, classified and listing, recipes, reviews, and for tracking the status of software packages.

RSS feeds are used in the world of e-commerce as a way of delivering information. For example, Amazon provides custom news feeds based on its web services platform. This lets you track top books in your news reader, or include information on your web site about related books for sale at Amazon.

RSS has grown tremendously in popularity in the last few years. Syndic8.com maintains an index of RSS channels, and its list of feed has grown by about 1400% in two years. Yahoo news, the BBC, Slashdot, Locker Gnome, Amazon, CNN, Wired, Rolling Stone and Apple computer are among the many popular sources of RSS feeds.

Types of RSS:

RSS readers or news aggregators are used to view particular web contents. RSS readers contain the collection of ‘feeds’ or RSS files from content providers, and they are generally classified into three types:

  • Desktop RSS readers:- Also known as stand one desktop application, they generally ‘run’ in the background and are similar to an e-mail client, collecting the feeds and refreshing items automatically as they are updated.
  • Web-based aggregators:- These are online services that enable users to personalize web pages, refreshing them each time the page is accessed or each time a person logs in to the service.
  • Plug-in aggregators/readers:- These make use of either web browsers or e-mail clients, which allow users to view RSS feeds while inside an existing program.

 

Definition:

The literature on the field provides us with a few definitions for RSS. Some of them have been listed below-“RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feed or podcasts in a entries standardized format.” (Wikipedia)

“RSS is an XML application that allows users to gather content as it is created and sites are updated. When such a web feed is created, interested users can subscribe to it.” (Holvoet 2006)

“RDF site summary, a light weight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. RSS is an XML application, conforms to the w3c’s RDF specification, and is extensible via XML namespace and/or RDF based modularization. Developed initially by Netscape but now widely used to exchange headline metadata between news content providers and portals, thereby delivering news headlines on the web. Also known as really simple syndication, rich site summary.” (Harrod’s librarians glossary)

“A web publishing technology that allows end users to automatically receive new digital content from the provider. Originally used for text files, RSS is now also used to deliver audio and video content. Various types of RSS readers are used to capture and play the content, and many of them are available free of charge.” (Library and Information Technology Glossary.

“A family of web font formats coded in XML used to provide subscribers with frequently updated information. Format allows distributing contents without the need of a navigator, by means of software designed to read RSS (aggregator) contents.” (Master base glossary)

“Really Simple Syndication technology for bloggers and podcasters to distribute their content.” (Glossary of Terms APAN Connect all partners access network)

“RSS is an XML-based format (using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) – a language for representing information about resources in the World Wide Web) that allows the syndication of lists of hyperlinks, along with other information, or metadata, that helps’ viewers decide whether they want to follow the link. RSS allows a person’s computer to fetch and understand the information, so that all of the lists that person is interested in can be tracked and personalized for them. It is a format that’s intended for use by computers on behalf of people, rather than being directly presented to them (like HTML).” (Glossary bytown internet)

“Really Simple Syndication” – Allows you to collect news and postings from newspapers, blogs, libraries, etc. and read them in one place.” (Glossary of Library Lingo)

“RSS (Real Simple Syndication) — is the technical specification used to deliver podcasts.” (New Media Glossary)

“RSS-Acronym for Really Simple Syndication, Web feed technology that automatically detects when content on one site is updated and through subscriber feeds and aggregators, distributes it to another Web site or to a digital signage content player.” (Glossary black box network service)

“RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed is a document that contains either a summary of content from a web site or the full text of a website. RSS feeds make it possible for people to keep up with their favourite web sites automatically rather than checking them manually.” (Search Engine (SEO) Glossary)

“RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary feed) provides summaries of web content in a simple format. It is available through an RSS feed reader, or through some browsers. It will show you what’s new since the last time you checked the feed, without having to visit the website itself.” (New Zealand Legislation Glossary)

“RSS (Rich Site Summary) is an XML technology for the syndication of a website’s content.” (Richardson 2005).

“RSS is web content syndication format. It is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a dialect of XML.” (Harvard)

“RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news like sites, including major news sites like wired, news — oriented community sites like Slashdot, and personal web logs.” (XML.com)

 

Purpose of RSS:

The purpose of RSS is to syndicate and thereby share the content published on a web site. In order to do so, an RSS feed or channel is produced which consists of a list of new items added to the site. Typically, each item includes a title, a brief summary, and a link to the full content. Once a feed is produced and made available, its content can be published on other web sites, indexed by RSS-based search engines, or collected and read via RSS aggregators or newsreader software.

Webmasters create an RSS file containing headlines and descriptions of specific information. While the majority of RSS feeds currently contain news headlines or breaking information the long term uses of RSS are broad. RSS is a defined standard based on XML with the specific purpose of delivering updates to web-based content. Using this standard, webmasters provide headlines and fresh content in a succinct manner. Meanwhile, consumers use RSS readers and news aggregators to collect and monitor their favourite feeds in one centralized program or location. Content viewed in the RSS reader or news aggregator is place known as an RSS feed. RSS is becoming increasing popular. The reason is fairly simple. RSS is a free and easy way to promote a site and its content without the need to advertise or create complicated content sharing partnerships.

RSS is a real important technology that information specialists and educators would be well advised to harness sooner rather than later. In simple terms, Weblogs (and an ever-growing number of other sites) generate a behind the scenes code in a language similar to HTML called XML. This code usually referred to as a “feed” (as in “news feed”) makes it possible for readers to “subscribe” to the content that is created on a particular Weblog so they no longer have to visit the blog itself to get it. As is true with traditional syndication, the content comes to you instead of you going to get it, hence “Real Simple Syndication.”

RSS have referred to technology that facilitates the sharing, or syndication, of website content by subscription. RSS, more specifically RSS feeds, reduce the effort and time required to access web content by allowing users to subscribe to specific web sources that generate or that link to content they desire. The subscribers use personalized start pages or RSS readers to display summaries of the content which are updated automatically as new information becomes available. In essence, RSS sustains the notion of ephemeralization by affording subscribers the ability to review greater quantities of specific information in less time than individually visiting each site and searching for the desired information.

Benefits to RSS:

RSS streamlines communication between publishers and readers. Since RSS has had a popularity surge, webmasters have been experimenting and using RSS feeds to deliver content in new and innovative ways. Typically, RSS feeds contain news headlines and content summaries. The content summaries contain just enough information without overwhelming the reader with superfluous details. If the reader is interested and wants additional information they can click on the item in the feed, accessing the website which contains additional details. RSS readers aggregate multiple feeds, making it easy for individuals to quickly scan information contained within each feed. Feeds are generally themed, allowing users to opt-in to feeds that are of interest.

The big benefit to RSS is that individuals opt in to content of interest, totally controlling the flow of information that they receive. If the quality of the content in the feed declines, users simply remove the feed from their RSS reader and they will not receive any additional updates from that source. The RSS reader acts as an aggregator, allowing users to view and scan multiple content streams in a timely fashion.

How to Find RSS FEED:

Search engine can be used to find content in RSS format. With Google, for example, one can add “file type: RSS” to a search to find your search terms in RSS files. Dedicated search engines pave the way for searching the content easily. Feedster monitors web logs, and lets one to search through an index of log entries and view them by relevance, date, or ranking (blogrank). While doing a search, Feedster creates an RSS feed based on one’s request. This can be added to a newsreader, so that one can see all the recent activity on the search request, without even leaving thenewsreader.

Uses of RSS includes:

  • Monitoring news.
  • Current awareness for professionals.
  • Tracking Weblogs.
  • Sharing technical information, link lists, and photos

 

Why use RSS Feeds:

There are many advantages of using XML RSS feeds.

1. Information Producers:

  • Increase traffic to web site.
  • Information can be pushed to users and subscribers by using the broadcast method.
  • Distributes information automatically to users when an update is made.
  • Visibility and access to information can be increased (link to full-text articles of subscribed information).
  • Saves on development time for webmasters.

2. Web Content Managers:

  • Delivers selected targeted information to specific users groups.
  • Offers web site users the latest information from various sources.
  • Efficient technique to use updating web pages.
  • Ability to deliver value added services without over taxing current staff, i.e. Electronic Table of Content Service, Current Awareness and News.
  • Information can be pulled from catalos or databases, converted into an RSS feed and displayed on web pages.

3. Information Users:

  • RSS feeds are subscribed to by users or content managers and can be discontinued as desired.
  • Once a user subscribers to a feed, the desired information is delivered to the user without them taking the time to search or browse for it.
  • RSS feeds are read through an RSS Reader or placed as web content. Thus, work and personal email boxes are not overloaded with additional information for the user to read.
  • Advertisements and spans are not included in feeds.
  • Enables users to stay current on the latest information.

 

RSS Feed Advantages and Disadvantages:

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a tool useful for saving or retaining updated information on websites that you frequently visit or websites that are your favourite. RSS utilizes an XML code which scans continuously the content or subject matter of a certain website in search for new information then transmits the information updates by way of feeding the information to subscribers.

Advantages of RSS Feeds:

RSS gives benefits to both readers (users) and web publishers.

  • It gives you the latest updates. Whether it is about the weather, new music, software upgrade, local news, or a new posting from a rarely-updates site learn about the latest as soon as it comes out.
  • It gives the power of subscription to the user. Users are given a free-hand on which websites to subscribe in their RSS aggregators which they can change at any time they decide differently.
  • It saves on surfing time. Since an RSS feed provides a summary of the related article, it saves the user’s time by helping he/she decide on which items to prioritize when reading or browsing the net.
  • It is spam free. Unlike email subscriptions, RSS does not make use of your email address to send updates thus your privacy is kept safe from spam mails.
  • Unsubscribing is hassle-free. Unlike email subscriptions where the user is asked questions on why she/he is unsubscribing and then the user would be asked to confirm unsubscribing, all you have to do is to delete the RSS feed from your aggregator.
  • It can be used as an advertising or marketing tool. Users who subscribe or syndicate product websites receive the latest news on products and services without the website sending spam mail. This is advantageous to both the web user and the website owner since advertising becomes targeted; those who are actually interested in their products are kept posted.
  • It is easy to subscribe to entertainment RSS feed, just click the button that indicates the RSS feed. You usually have to copy the URL into your aggregator, and some RSS feeds automatically download into your reader. You can unsubscribe to an RSS feed anytime.
  • The great thing about RSS feeds is that you’re always updated with the latest news and happenings. An RSS feed is revolutionizing the way information consumers get their content. Instead of being bombarded with a plethora of useless information, the consumers now can select and reject the material that goes into their consciousness.

 

Disadvantages of RSS Feeds:

  • The disadvantages of RSS use are brought about by its being a new technology and some user-preference concerns.
  • Some users prefer receiving email updates over an RSS feed.
  • Not every site offers RSS feeds. • Some RSS feeds expire after a specific time period (Pub Med, EBSCO).
  • RSS content is not being used to its full potential. • Copyright issues should be addressed.
  • Graphics and photos do not appear in all RSS feeds. For conciseness and ease of publication, RSS feeds do not display the photos from the original site in announcing the update except for some web-based aggregators.
  • The identity of the source website can be confusing. Since RSS feeds do not display the actual URL or name of the website, it can sometimes get confusing on what feed a user is actually reading.
  • Publishers cannot determine how many users are subscribed to their feed and the frequency of their visits. Moreover, they would not know the reasons why users unsubscribe which could be important in improving their advertising.
  • RSS feeds create higher traffic and demands on the server. Most readers still prefer the whole update over a brief summary of the entry, thus they still access the site.
  • Since it is a new technology, many sites still do not support RSS.


Reference Article:

  • Naseem, M. (2010). Application of RSS in libraries.

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