RSS: Insight from Scott Horvath

July 15, 2008

Speaker: Scott Horvath – U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior


Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds and readers are a common element found on many of today’s websites. RSS empowers users to pull in only the information they want to read to their desktops or browser based readers.

Utilizing RSS has many positive elements and few disadvantages.

Advantages include:

  • Viewing updates and news releases at a time of your choosing
  • Increase in web traffic
  • Increased work productivity
  • Integration across multiple websites such as social networks and blogs


  • Subscribing to too many RSS subscriptions can lead to information overload.
  • You might miss other important information on the site
  • Possible assumptions all news will go out in the RSS feed. This is not always the case and you might miss new RSS feeds from the same site

Tips & Tricks:

  • Keep all of your RSS feeds on one page for users to easily browse subscriptions.
  • Use FeedBurner to keep track of statistics

USGS Resources:

RSS Cheat Sheet: usgs.gov/corecast/docs/rss_cheatsheet.pdf
USGS RSS/Podcasts: usgs.gov/rss
USGS CoreCast: usgs.gov/corecast
USGS CoreFacts: usgs.gov/corefacts


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