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RSS (RDF Site Summary - formerly called Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) is a method of describing news or other Web content that is available for "feeding" (distribution or syndication) from an online publisher to Web users. RSS is an application of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) that adheres to the World Wide Web Consortium's Resource Description Framework (RDF). Originally developed by Netscape for its browser's Netcenter channels, the RSS specification is now available for anyone to use.
A Web site that wants to "publish" some of its content, such as news headlines or stories, creates a description of the content and specifically where the content is on its site in the form of an RSS document. The publishing site then registers its RSS document with one of several existing directories of RSS publishers. A user with a Web browser or a special program that can read RSS-distributed content can read periodically-provided distributions. Some current directories of RSS files include Meerkat, GropSoup, NewsIsFree, UserLand, and XML Tree; these sites are sometimes known as content aggregators. RSS browsers include Headline Viewer and Novobot.
News is only one form of content that can be distributed with an RSS feed. Other possibilities include discussion forum excerpts, software announcements, and any form of content retrievable with a URL.
Boy, do I feel old right now.