Information about Spectrum's RSS Feed and RSS FAQ

Your RSS feed:



Want to be the first to get IEEE Spectrum's headlines as soon as they are published? Here's a look at the basics, answers to some common questions about RSS feeds, and information on how to signup for Spectrum's news feeds.

"What is RSS?"

Depending on whom you ask, the acronym RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication", "Rich Site Summary", or any of a handful of others. The acronym's exact translation is not as important as what it does, though.

An RSS feed is a Web site's syndicated news feed to which you subscribe using an RSS or news reader.

"What is an RSS feed?"

An RSS feed (also known as an XML or news feed) is a listing of a Web site's content. It is updated whenever new content is published to the site. News readers "subscribe" to the feeds, automatically downloading lists of stories at a user-specified interval, and presenting them in the news reader.

A news feed might contain a list of story headlines, a list of excerpts from the stories, or a list containing each story from the website (Spectrum's news feeds contain article headlines). All news feeds have a link back to the Web site, so if a headline catches your eye, click on the link for that article to go directly to it on the Spectrum Web site.

RSS feeds are syndicated content. Syndication refers to the process that occurs when a publisher provides content in a form that can be consumed by software (like an RSS reader).

The concept is similar to email: your buddy Bob (the publisher) writes you an email about nanotechnology advances (the content). Your favorite email program (the software) receives the email, and probably alerts you with gentle tune.

With a syndicated Spectrum feed, it works like this: Spectrum Online (the publisher) publishes a story about the failure of large enterprise software projects (the content). Your favorite RSS reader (the software) sees that Spectrum Online has published a new story, and pulls the feed bit into your reader.

"How do I subscribe to Spectrum's RSS feeds?"

First, you will need an RSS reader, a piece of software that you use to read your subscribed RSS feeds. It is to RSS feeds what Eudora, Hotmail, and Outlook are to email.

If you visit a lot of Web sites on daily basis, or read a lot of blogs, a reader can save time because it pulls all your subscribed feeds into one place for easy reading. Sites like, 43folders,, Salon, and the New York Times all offer RSS feeds.

Using an RSS reader allows you to visit a Web site only when you spot an interesting story in your reader. The reader visits your subscribed sites as often as you wish to see if there are updates.

Some commonly used RSS readers are Feed Demon,, Sharp Reader, and NewsGator (an Outlook plugin) for Windows, NetNewsWire, and Shrook for Macs, and for those who like Web-based readers. Google Reader is popular with Gmail users.

"Where do I subscribe to Spectrum's RSS feeds?"

Spectrum's RSS feed is here.