RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." It allows you to be notified when websites have added new content. RSS is an easy way for you to keep up with news and information published on websites because instead of searching for information, you can get new content delivered directly to you.

What is an RSS Feed?

RSS feeds (sometimes also known as "news feeds") are web pages designed to be read by RSS readers. When you subscribe to a feed using a RSS reader, you will get the latest information in one place, as soon as it is published, without having to visit the website you have taken the feed from. These feeds are commonly used on blogs, news web sites, and other places with frequently updated content.

State and Federal Government RSS Feeds

  • Mass.Gov RSS feeds: Some Mass.Gov agencies publish their news or press releases as RSS feeds to allow you the ability to subscribe if you wish.
  • U.S. Government RSS feeds: USA.gov has a list of government agencies with RSS feeds that you can subscribe to.

State and Federal Government Blog Feeds

What is an RSS Reader?

An RSS reader (also called an aggregator) is a piece of software that checks the feeds that you have subscribed to and provides you with any new content that has been added.

How do I get an RSS Reader?

There are many different types of RSS readers. Different readers work on different operating systems, so be sure to choose one that will work with your computer. Most current web browsers have built in RSS readers, but if you are using an older browser, there are other ways of receiving RSS content such as:

  • a software download for Windows or Mac computers
  • mobile apps for use on Smartphones
  • online feed readers such as Feedly
  • within Microsoft Outlook.

How do I subscribe to an RSS feed?

Each RSS reader has a slightly different way of adding a new feed, which may also be called a "channel." Be sure to follow the specific directions for the reader you select, but it usually works in one of two ways:

  1. Click on the "Subscribe" link for the feed you want.
  2. Select your feed reader from the list that appears. OR, if you see a page displaying XML code instead, copy the URL from the web address bar.
  3. Paste the URL into the "add subscription" option in your chosen feed reader.

Where can I find out more about RSS?

RSS in Plain English

Video | Transcript
This short, clever, Creative Commons licensed video from Common Craft uses paper and pencil to explain RSS in 4 minutes.