Boston University Superfund Research Program

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What is RSS?

"Really Simple Syndication" (RSS) is an easy way of staying up-to-date with changing web content. Want to be notified about Nature's in-press articles, or every time the New York Times publishes a new Health headline, or every time a new article with the keyword "phthalate" appears on PubMed? You need RSS.

We have a RSS "feed" for BU SRP events and updates (see below). But almost every site on the web that has dynamic content now has an RSS feed — news sources, scientific journals, blogs, and more — and by setting up an RSS reader, you can subscribe to almost anything you're interested in.

For more on RSS, check wikipedia. A very good intro to RSS can be found in this article from the BBC. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences also has a RSS News Feeds page.

Using RSS

To subscribe to RSS content, you'll need a "news aggregator". You can download and install many good aggregators for free, or you can use several web-based ones that you can access with your usual browser.

If you're not sure where to start, just set up a free Google Reader account and try it out. Once you get a feel for RSS, you can decide what features you want and need.

For details on setting up Google Reader, and for a list of other news aggregator software options, check out our RSS Starter Kit.


Here are a few sample feeds to give you a taste of what RSS can do. Remember, RSS feeds won't look right in your web browser — use your news aggregator to subscribe to them.

  • The BU SRP news and updates RSS feed lists current events related to the BU Superfund program. (This link is to the RSS feed; copy it into your news aggregator to subscribe).
  • Most journals have RSS feeds for new articles; for example, Environmental Health Perspectives.
  • Pubmed allows you to create an RSS feed from any keyword search. From the "display" line just above the search results, choose the "Send to" drop-down and change it to "RSS Feed".
  • Most web sites with dynamic content now have RSS feeds; for example, The New York Times has feeds available by section.

We've also set up a list of important news sources for environmental health to get you started. (To skip straight to the OPML file, right click here and save the file to your desktop.) A tutorial on importing news feeds can be found in our RSS Starter Kit.