Santa Clara University

Web Publishing @ SCU

Using RSS

How to share Web site content using RSS

About RSS

RSS (an acronym for Really Simple Syndication, or Rich Site Summary) is a file format used to share content between systems.  It is a fundamental component of weblogs, podcasting, and news syndication.  An RSS file is an XML text file format, with standard tags for structure (such as category, title, description, and link).  Adhering to this standardized format allows Web sites to easily share content with other Web systems, or client software that can read an RSS file.

How RSS is used at SCU

The SCU site publishes RSS feeds for press releases, campus events, job listings, and blogs (including the Web Publishing blog).  These feeds are used to share content with external systems (primarily the eCampus portal). The SCU Athletics Web site includes an RSS feed that is distributed from the site to display headlines.  And the "Current SCU Weather" element gets its content from an RSS feed published by the National Weather Service.

Getting started with RSS

If your site includes content that is regularly updated, and the content would conform to the RSS structure (category, title, description, author, link, date, etc.), you may want to consider publishing it as an RSS feed.  An example of this type of content would be the Human Resources Department's staff job listings.  This content is regularly and continually updated, conforms to a standard structure, and has an audience that would appreciate the timely nature of updates being delivered to an RSS feed reader.  Also, the ability to share (or syndicate) content with other Web systems via RSS is an advantage for this content.

If you're interested in exploring the potential uses of RSS on your Web site, contact the Web Publishing team in OCM and Media Services.

RSS Custom Elements

Custom elements are available for displaying content from an RSS feed, or displaying a subscription link.  There's an RSS Reader/Aggregator element for content displayed in the content well or the right column, and a "subscribe" element that can be displayed in the content well.  Use the Reader/Aggregator element for both content well and right column displayes, setting the display parameter to modify the presentation.  In the example that follows, we're aggregating content from two Web Publishing RSS feeds (and there's an example of the right column RSS element on this page).

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