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How Do I Use RSS?

Probably the most popular use for RSS is in RSS aggregators. Also known as newsreaders and news aggregators, these are dedicated programs which allow you to read RSS files. There are many public aggregators, where someone selects RSS feeds on a certain topic and assembles them together, such as LISFeeds, on librarian topics. Most people, however, want their own personalized aggregator; being able to make your own "newspaper" is one of the big advantages of syndication. These aggregators come in two types: software that you download, and online aggregators. One of the most popular online aggregators is Bloglines. Aggregator software that runs on your own computer may be a standalone program or integrate into a program that you already use, such as Microsoft Outlook and the Mozilla browser. Most (but certainly not all) RSS aggregators use a three-panel layout (shown below); you may already be familiar with this as it is used by other programs such as Microsoft Outlook. A panel on the right shows the RSS feeds that you have subscribed to (the ones you have selected), one on the top shows all the items for that feed, and one at the bottom shows the description and/or linked page for the selected item.