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What is an RSS feed?

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About RSS feeds

An RSS feed allows you to see when a website has added new content through notifications in your browser or email client, or through dedicated RSS reading software. Many sites on the internet use RSS feeds (such as news sites, blogs and any other site with frequently updated content) to keep users up-to-date on the latest site news. The DPAC news feed updates automatically whenever a news item is added to the front page of the site or to the homepage of one of our divisions, making it easy to stay informed about the Department's activities.

How do I use an RSS feed?

There are a number of different ways to be notified of new content on a site using RSS feeds:

Using your email software:

RSS feeds can also be read using an email client such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird. Below is a guide to adding the DPAC RSS feed to Outlook. For a guide to adding RSS feeds in Thunderbird visit the MozillaZine website.

Using RSS with Outlook

In Microsoft Outlook it is possible to have the latest news items from the DPAC news feed appear in the "RSS Feeds" folder in the same way that new emails appear in the inbox. To add the DPAC news feed, right-click on the "RSS Feeds" folder and select "Add a new RSS feed":

Adding a feed in Outlook

A window will then appear asking for the location of the RSS feed you wish to add. For the DPAC news feed, enter http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/rss (or copy and paste this link). Once you click "add", Outlook will ask you to confirm that you wish to add the feed. Click "yes", and a new folder will appear as a sub-folder of "RSS feeds" called "DPAC latest news feed". Every time a news item is added to the DPAC site, Outlook will show a new item in the same way that it would show a new item in the inbox:

New feed item in Outlook

Clicking on this folder will display the feed in the main Outlook window. Each news item is shown as a separate message in the same way as emails are displayed in the inbox. In each news item will be a link called "view article", which opens the relevant page from the DPAC website in your default browser.

Using a web browser:

Most popular web browsers feature an integrated RSS reader. Below are guides for using RSS with the two most popular browsers, Internet Explorer and Firefox. For more information about using RSS feeds with your browser consult the browser's help files or visit the browser's website.

Using RSS with Internet Explorer 7

When you visit the DPAC website using Internet Explorer 7, the RSS feed icon in the toolbar will turn from grey to orange as shown below:

Feed discovery in IE7

Clicking on this icon will show the feed so that it looks like a normal web page. The latest 10 news items from the DPAC website will be listed as headlines which link to the full information on the site. A brief summary of the news item may also be listed underneath the headline. At the top of the page will be a link to "subscribe" to the feed, as shown below:

Viewing a feed in IE

Clicking on the "subscribe to this feed" link will bring up a window allowing you to change the displayed name of the feed and where it is bookmarked. The default settings in this window don't need to be changed. Click on the "subscribe" button in this window to add the DPAC news feed to your list of subscribed feeds in Internet Explorer. To view this list, press Ctrl+J on the keyboard, or click on the star icon (Favourites icon in IE) in the top-left corner of the window.

Once the feed is added to Internet Explorer, pressing Ctrl+J or clicking on the star icon, then selecting the DPAC latest news link will show display the latest version of the feed.

Using RSS with Firefox

When you visit the DPAC website using Firefox, the orange RSS feed icon in the address bar will appear as shown below:

Feed discovery in FF

Clicking on this icon will show the feed so that it looks like a normal web page. The latest 10 news items from the DPAC website will be listed as headlines which link to the full information on the site. A brief summary of the news item may also be listed underneath the headline. At the top of the page will be a button to "subscribe" to the feed, as shown below:

Viewing a feed in FF

Clicking on the "subscribe now" button will bring up an "add live bookmark" window. In this window you can rename the feed if desired - no other settings need to be changed. Click "add" to add the feed as a set of live bookmarks in the "Bookmarks" menu. Live bookmarks are similar to normal bookmarked links to a site, but they automatically update to link to the latest news items in the feed. A set of live bookmarks from the DPAC news feed is shown below:

Live bookmarks in FF

To check the DPAC news feed at any time, go to the "DPAC latest news feed" live bookmarks folder, where the latest news item will be linked at the top of the list.

Using a dedicated RSS reader

There are a number of free dedicated RSS readers (or "aggregators") available. Some, such as Google Reader or Bloglines, are web-based, and are designed to be a "one-stop" webpage which can update a user on a number of websites at the same time. There are also a number of dedicated software RSS aggregators available which download RSS content in a similar way to Outlook, but usually with extra features specific to handling RSS feeds. A list of feed aggregators can be found on Wikipedia.


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