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RSS: A Primer for Advocates and Managers

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1 RSS: A Primer for Advocates and Managers
May 7, 2007

2 Presenters Gabrielle Hammond, NTAP
Gwen Daniels, Illinois Legal Aid Online

3 Overview of Session The Basics: Mozilla and IE 7
Power of Information and Role of RSS RSS Aggregators Netvibes: Creating Your Personal Newspaper RSS for Poverty Law

4 A Note on the Training Focus on today’s training is how to use RSS for you as individuals. To learn more about RSS use on statewide websites see:


6 Part 1: Mozilla Firefox Gabrielle Hammond

7 It takes 2 minutes to download.
It takes two minutes to download.

8 Why Mozilla?… Internet at your Fingers
Easy to use and improves your efficiency. Tabbed browsing Easy creation of folders for bookmarks LiveFeeds: A folder the stores your RSS Here we are using Mozilla Firefox. You can see a toolbar with folders. One highlighted is GoogleTools folder, with a drop down of Gmail. I can easily access this url from this toolbar. You can also see I have several Tabs, or Websites, open across the top at the same time.

9 Part 2: Power of RSS What if the Web Came to You?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is simply a technology that allows you to – with a couple clicks subscribe to online information, news, blogs, and content. Have you seen its logo? It indicates content you can subscribe to. This means it comes to you. We just saw this logo on the screenshot on the slide before (Slide 5)…see how it is on LSNTAP’s site in the browser bar. Analogy: If John, Jeff, and Kim want to send you a letter, you do not have to go to the houses of John, then Jeff, then Kim to retrieve each individual letter. You have the mail come to you. This is the same with RSS. Instead of having to go to the site of John, Jeff, then Kim each morning to get their info, you make it come to you. Even better: What if you really like John, but only when he spouts off about your favorite hobby -- ping pong. You want to hear everything he has to say about ping pong or view any footage of his winner years playing tournament. While expert at ping pong, he is also a wicked Ukranian egg decorator and will often write a lot about new egg designs he has created. You have absolutely no interest in hearing about egg news, blogs, or videos…only about ping pong… Advanced uses of RSS will enable you to not receive John’s “mail” to you directly, but it will enable you to only receive the content type you want, in this case, ping pong, not Ukrainian eggs.

10 What is RSS? A Technical Explanation
RSS allows websites to syndicate content to other websites and other XML-enabled applications like RSS feed readers/aggregators Atom is a very similar standard originally used by Blogs. Most feed readers support both RSS and Atom.

11 Where Can You Have RSS Delivered?
RSS can be received in your browser. RSS can be received in your inbox. RSS can be received on a webpage.

12 What Can Be RSS’d? News Blogs Video Email Online Tools (Ta Da Lists)

13 Finding Feeds 1. Easy: Look for the RSS logo:
2. Both Google Reader & MyYahoo have built-in feed searches (You type in ping pong and it delivers content based on all the web it spiders.) 3. If you know the “javascript” (code that tells the web to bring it to you), you can cut and paste it into your browser (or website). RSS.LStech.Org: maintains a list of many feeds with the additional ability to get these feeds in javascript for websites.

14 Is Your Favorite Website RSS-able?
What is Your Favorite Site for? News Tracking Interests or Hobbies Blogs Online Tools Let’s Look at NTAP’s Recommendations…

15 Anything can be RSS’d (or subscribed to). Even my GMAIL Account.
See the Orange RSS symbol in the address bar? Click it. A popup window appears asking where you want it to go. Click OK Mine goes in a folder called LiveFeeds in my Bookmark Toolbar.

16 Examples of Substantive Feeds:
Center on Budget & Policy Priorities CLASP Feeds (several feeds on various topics) Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law National Health Law Program US Government Feed Library Legal Services of Northern California Advocate Feed

17 Technology Related Feeds Latest News & Views LStech Resource Center Legal Technology Feed ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center feed Statewide Website Feed

18 Receive National Legal Aid News
NLADA’s Equal Justice News CNN Law Feed LSC Announcements LSC Updates

19 Other Ideas Some statewide websites and other state legal aid websites may have RSS feeds available

20 So, How? RSS Through Your Browser
Live Bookmarks in Firefox Through Internet Explorer 7 In both: Go to the feed URL Click “Subscribe” in the browser window

21 Other Ways to Access RSS
Applications: Outlook (through third-party plugin, except Outlook 2007) and Thunderbird Third-party websites that provide RSS aggregation (we’ll see an example soon)

22 How Do You Subscribe? Browser: If you use Mozilla, it is Easy.
Find content you want to subscribe to. Click on the logo. Drag to LiveFeeds Folder on your Bookmark Bar. Let’s try it.

23 What if you only went to ONE site for ALL news feeds you wanted?
Part 3: RSS Aggregators What if you only went to ONE site for ALL news feeds you wanted?

24 What if you don’t want to search?
There are “readers” or “aggregators”. These provide a directory of resources by topic for you to pick from. Google Directory is a directory of all news readers -- in other words, all news that can be subscribed to, you can search and pick what you want. Google has a good, pretty comprehensive, directory of news readers. Do a Google search, go to, or go to this url:

25 What if you don’t care about the source as much as the specific news content type?
SEARCH on GOOGLE NEWS for the content type you want and ALL news anywhere will be brought to you via RSS. For example, “HUD Litigation” “Legal Aid Technology” “Your Program Name” Google News ( is a great search engine for news sources. You can also easily create RSS news feeds for any search term so that all news on that topic is fed to you. Be sure to use “quotes” around you search phrases to narrow the search. You don’t want every news story that says “legal.” -- You can SEARCH for news. -- You can have the news come to you via RSS

26 Feed Aggregators ability to control number of items per feed, move up/move down. Google Reader: folders, personalized home page, feeds integrated create your own custom newspaper combines RSS feeds with social bookmarking

27 Creating Your Own Personalized News Hub
Part 4: Netvibes Creating Your Own Personalized News Hub

28 Final Step: Netvibes.Com
Take all the feeds and create your own online newspaper -- takes 2 min! Create your own personal newspaper, for free. Use existing online tools provided with Netvibes to capture the weather and general news. Use RSS feeds from other sources to create your own newspaper.

29 Poverty Law Newspaper You can have tabs to your paper. Steve has a Poverty Law Paper page. Using netvibes to build my own Poverty Law Newspaper using RSS feeds found on

30 Your Turn: Let’s Build Netvibes Together

31 Part 5: RSS for Poverty Law

32 Getting Started Use IE 7 or Mozilla
Find Feeds: Look on LSNTAP.Org for your “Feeds for Advocates” Search for others Get a Netvibes account and have it be your “home page” when you open your browser Share your feeds with others and us!

33 To add feeds you find for the poverty law community:
More on the RSS National Server (how to add your feeds and add them to your websites): | RSS The Legal Services RSS Feed Project ( will allow you to pull feeds from a variety of legal aid and related sources directly into your website by just copying our a very short snippet of javascript code. (It’s easy, honest.) Or, you can define your own feed.

34 How Advocates use RSS Keep current on national trends through RSS news feeds from national support centers or other legal experts. Keep current on local information by bringing news and information into a single location

35 Discussion: How do you use RSS feeds:
Are advocates in your organization using RSS feeds? What of these examples would be of most interest? What are some of your favorite feeds?

36 Additional Resources RSS for Advocates: Everything You Need to Know
RSS section of the LSNTAP Tech Library Great Resources for Poverty Law Related RSS

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