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Internet Workshop

Current Awareness Delivery Resources
Searching RSS Channels for News

Tutorial URL:

Workshop Description

This practical workshop provides an overview of the many free and low cost options for delivering specialized current information. We'll examine news alert services and delivery technologies via e-mail, Web-based newsletters, Weblogs, k-logs, and RSS/XML news feed subscriptions and demonstrate filtering techniques to separate the wheat from the chaff. We'll explore specialized search engines that cover traditional news media, blogs, and RSS syndicated news. Learn about the pros and cons of initiating news alert services and offering such services to your customers.

What is RSS?

RSS is a protocol, an application of XML, that provides an open method of syndicating and aggregating Web content. Users can have constantly updated content from web sites delivered to them via a news aggregator, a piece of software specifically tailored to receive these types of feeds. RSS powers many popular applications such as weblogs, knowledge management networks, and news syndication. Use RSS to keep up on industry specific news, check weather, look for jobs, view upcoming concerts or university lectures, monitor specific websites, etc.

Search RSS Headline Online

  • Michael Fagan's Weblogs, Journals, & RSS
    The title is misleading. This is actually a gateway or metasearch tool for searching RSS feeds using any of the leading RSS search tools. Search categories include search for blogs and photoblogs, search for RSS feeds, search in blogs, search in RSS feeds. It also searches RSS link tools to find recently updated feeds and links to blogs. You can include his code to add his searchbox to any page.


  • Scott Johnson's Feedster - advanced search
    Easy to use search of RSS feeds producing quality results. Have recently added an Image Search. Some features include MyBlog Search, a site search of just a particular blogh.


  • Technorati
    Find out who's linking to you. Simply type in a URL of a blog, website, or interesting article on the web, and Cosmos will tell you which bloggers are linking to the URL. Technorati's new keyword search feature provides you with the most up-to-date search of all of the weblogs that Technorati tracks - over 896,674 weblogs at last count! We refresh our search indexes multiple times per day, so you should be able to stay on top of everything new that bloggers are talking about. For $10 a year, Technorati Plus members can set up a RSS Watchlist, to keep track of the inbound links to your blog or web site using your favorite RSS browser or aggregator.



  • Moreover - Commercial syndicator of news from more than 3,000 online news, industry, and specialized sources. Moreover refreshes headlines every 15 minutes and excells in quality selection, filtering, and removing redundancies.
    1. Search Showcase. Click "free login to expand search.." Select a category to display 25 headlines selected from 4,000 sources OR use search box.
    2. The Full list numbers 363 edited and 430 unedited news categories (334 now shown). Do a keyword search for headlines, browse for categories, or select from the OCS file. Click on "Feed URL" and cut the "o=portal&" from the query string to view up to 30 hyperlinked headlines. Add "&o=rss" to the end of that string and refresh to view the RSS 0.91 feed. You can then subscribe to that feed or view it in a reader such as NewZCrawler. You can also have a category's daily feed, for example "stockwatch", emailed to you by sending a blank e-mail to on-index_[feedname]
    3. See Developers Central for instructions in various ways to display Moreover feeds on your own page.

  • Google - indexes the more notable blog. Add <filetype:rss> to your query to limit the search to RSS feeds.


  • NewsIsFree by Mike Krus - aggregates headlines, from 6,490 sources feeds. Search Headlines - search through the last two days of harvested headlines and read the entire item descriptions, or browse by news categories. With premium services, you can use the web site as a cloud-based personal aggregator. Any of the feeds it collects can be added to custom pages that you define.


  • The Snewp - Multi-featured, fast search over 10,000 daily headlines (with technology emphasis) from sources such as NewsIsFree and their own list of about 180 Snewp feeds (now discontinued) created by James Linden of Ticluse Teknologi.. These feeds have recently been migrated to RSS Engine, currently under development. Snewp is excellent for filtering results, reading feeds, viewing XML, and integrating with select viewers such as fyuze.
  • Dan Chan's DayPop - crawls and indexes over 10,500 RSS channels and weblogs to provide a current events search of headlines and news. Refreshed daily (use advanced search). Results, like Google's, show the queried keywords in context with a link to a cached copy of the page. For any result, there is a link to "citations" or other blogs that link to it. Has sorting optins and language filtering. It makes a daily crawl of the top page of weblogs and generally crawls news sites one level deep. Here's a tip from Morbus Iff (aka Kevin Hemenway): add &o=rss to the end of any search URL to get the results in RSS format. You can add this search box to any page:

  • Chris Ridings' Fresh Search - Indexes daily about 100,000 items from news headlines and blogs. The search is similar to DayPop and PopDex. Fresh Search is unique in being able to save the search query as a RSS feed that can be parsed to your site to display search results on any topic or person. However, it defaults to an OR search you can't perform phrase or AND queries. Neither can the results be sorted by date so viewing the most recent headlines as a channel is not possible.

  • Meerkat. This service allows you to search a couple hundred Open Source RSS channels. While maintaining the original association of a story with a channel, Meerkat's focus is on chronological order -- the latest stories float to the top, regardless of their source.


  • Blog Search Engine - a searchable directory of blogs. There appears to be no editorial process of management; blog selections and descriptions are user-submitted. At this point it is not a true search of the content of blogs.


  • Auto-subscribe "bookmarklets": Amphetadesk; Radio news aggregator; fyuze

  • Kathy McKeown and Columbia University Computer Science Dept.. Columbia Newsblaster
    Computer generated daily headlines summary of the news with links to source articles and searchable news archives. Newsblaster crawls thirteen news sources, including Reuters and CNN, and then sorts and summarizes the stories and generates headlines using natural language processing, not RSS. Headlines have been converted to syndicated RSS feeds by Bruce Loebrich using rssDistiller.

  • Google News
    Computerized news editor that crawls more than 4,000 worldwide news sources and posts headlines every 15 minutes. Uses a complex algorithm of more than 150 criteria (such as headline size and style) to refine and rank story lists. Headlines are linked to the original articles and have been converted to syndicated RSS feeds by Bruce Loebrich using rssDistiller.
  • Shaycom Corporation's Blogging Network Blogging News
    A searchable subscription service ($5.95/month) that crawls a community of personal blogs. Sign-in to see the full stories. The emphasis on popular culture without much scholarly content.


Find a Viewer to View RSS Channels

Search or browse the headlines from hundreds of newspapers or Internet news sites in seconds (minus the pictures, pop-up windows, and banner ads)! First. select and download a viewer or "news aggregator" in order to receive feeds. A client-side news aggregator is simply a program that knows what to do with RSS files. Once you installed, click on an orange XML icon, copy the URL, and add it to your aggregator manually. Server-side news aggregating services allow you to locate feeds of interest and to consume the news online using your Web browser. Some of the newest generation Web browsers, such as OmniWeb 5 for the Mac, have RSS aggregation built-in.

Some popular news aggregators for Windows are:

  • Andrey Tumashinov's NewsZCrawler – ($25). This 3-paned Windows reader has many features and is easy to set up. It synthesizes RSS news feeds, NNTP newsgroups, and news web sites. It can write as well as read news. review.

    1. In Tree View, create a directory for news feed favorites and drag and drop feeds into it
    2. Click on a feed and read an article
    3. Click search news icon, and put keyword in search field
    4. Add a new feed from Syndic8 or NewsIsFree and add it to your favorites
    5. Later: In the outgoing folder, view the sample channel. Then from a file stored on your disk, create a new outgoing channel. Edit properties from the Channel --> Properties menu. Choose Action --> Update to publish channel.
  • FeedDemon beta by Nick Bradbury (Windows; freeware; screenshot); review
  • NewsGator a $29 Windows RSS and NNTP (newsgroup) aggregator for MS Outlook 2000/2002; sites can be organized using Outlook's folder features; supports plugins for managing Blooger and Radio weblogs; review

Some popular client aggregators for Macintosh are:

  • NetNewsWire by Brent Simmons is a free highly acclaimed 3-paned news reader and blog editor (supporting MT, Radio UserLand, Blogger, TypePad, LiveJournal and more); requires Mac OS X 10.2 and Safari; $39.95; review
  • PluckyX Headline Grabber simple 2-paned reader for Mac OS 8,9,X ; $15; can extract updated info from web sites using regexp filtering ; review

Other client aggregators include:

  • ActiveRefresh by Yury Chebotarev is a 2-paned Windows reader; $23.95; can post messages to Blogger, LiveJournal, and Movable Type blogs; can import from and export to OPML files; review
  • Aggie 1.0 by Joe Gregario is a Windows email gateway that requires .NET framework; supports all RSS formats, i.e. 0.91, 0.92, and 1.0; read and send news using your email client; scrapes news from non-syndicated sites; is highly praised; review
  • Amphetadesk by Kevin Hemenway, a free; PERL client-server app that runs on any OS and reads RSS 0.91 and 1.0, but does not search or organize feeds;; review
  • Awasu Personal Edition 1.0 (free; Windows) highly praised reader that monitors new content, including RSS channels; review
  • Blagg (free, runs on any OS);
  • Blago RSS News Reader; flashMX-based light-duty reader; supports all RSS versions; review
  • BlogExpress free Windows requires .NET ; for reading all versions of RSS (but no search facility); review
  • BottomFeeder by James Robertson (RSS 0.91 to 2.0);
  • FeedReader (free; Windows; supports all RSS formats, i.e. 0.91, 0.92 and 1.0) simple and clean 3-paned reader; review
  • fyuzion by Justin Klubnik allows you to create a fyuze-box, a personalized web page portal for viewing RSS feeds.
  • Hand/RSS for Palm OS by Stand Along, Inc. (Palm OS 3.0; $14.95) read RSS on a handheld via a HotSync or using a direct internet connection
  • Headline Viewer by Vertex Development (free; Windows; supports RSS 0.91)
  • intraVnews - RSS reader for Windows MS Outlook 2003/XP; free for individuals; corporate license is $29.905 for corporate, government or commercial environment or used for government or commercial purposes; supports all RSS formats, i.e. 0.91, 0.92, 2.0, and 1.0; review;
  • KlipFolio Feed Viewer by Serence, Inc.for reading feeds using their Windows KlipFolio; review
  • Lockergnome News Reader by Sausage Software & Chris Pirillo; a 3-paned Windows basic feature reader for light-duty use; browse categories, select feeds, and read headlines; $14.95 for premium version; review.
  • Newsfan 3-pane news reader for Mac OS X 10.2; imports from NetNewsWire and OPML; review
  • NewsMac news reader for Mac OS X 10.2 and requires Java 1.4; slow and doesn't display HTML formatting; review
  • NetNewsWire Lite is a freeware 3-paned reader for Mac OS X 10.2/Safari without weblog posting capability and the 2-pane combined view that the commercial version has; review
  • NewsMonster Pro news aggregator by Kevin Burton; can extract content from Blogger sites and others that do not have their own feeds; it definitely is a feature-laden monster, but weighs in on the side of complexity; supports Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 7.x and Firebird and requires Java 1.4. review
  • Oddpost Windows email client supports RSS feed reading and OPML import; requires IE; review
  • Pears is a 3-pane Python based news reader that works on Windows, Linux and MacOSX; like Plucky it has no searching or organzing capabilities; has OPML importing and exporting; Pears site; review
  • PopHeadlines Graeme Foster's free Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 Pop3 email server tool to read any RSS feed using any email client; requires with .NET Framework 1.1; blog; review
  • RadioUserland by Dave Winer aggregates feeds (RSS 0.91, 0.92, 2.0) and displays them via a web interface; clients for both Windows and Mac; review
  • RSS Bandit free 3-paned feed reader for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/3/XP and .NET framework; review
  • RSS News Reader by SQL Data Systems (browser-based tool; supports all RSS formats);
  • RSSReader a simple, free 3-paned Windows news reader from Ykoon B.V.; requires .NET framework; review
  • Sharpreader by Luke Hutteman (Windows; requires .NET 1.1; or .NET 1.0 with service pack 2) 3-paned reader offers Feedster and Technorati integration; review
  • SlashDock news reader for Mac OS X 10.2; lacks ability to organize news; review
  • Shrook News Gatherer is a RSS reader for Mac OS X 10.2 and Safari; review
  • Syndirella a free; a .NET based application, requires Windows 98 or Windows 2000; sometimes slow and unresponsive;
  • WildGrape NewsDesk (free; Windows) reads all RSS formats; review

For more information about news aggregators see:

Some popular server-side news aggregators include:

  • Bloglines by Chris Pirillo and others is a free two-paned online web-based aggregator that checks hourly for updates. Select feeds and read them using your browser. If you're currently using another aggregator you can import your existing OPML subscription list; you can also export an OPML list for use with another aggregator and managing blogrolls; slow for managing large numbers of feeds; review
  • Blogstreet Info Aggregator. Select RSS feeds and read headline via IMAP email using your email client. Each headline is a separate message, so subscribing to a large number of feeds can easily overwhlem your email management system. review
  • BlogHog by Shaycom Corporation
    Free service to help you find, read, and track RSS channels. Read the five latest posts and keep track of favorites. Updated hourly. Default sorts are by popularity and latest postings. It's browse-only since there is no search facility or archives. You can add feeds that are not yet included. Simply click to add or remove a feed to your list of displayed "favorites" for online viewing sorted by popularity, date, and name. BlogHead supports RSS 0.9, 0.91 and 1.0 formats and RSS Autodiscovery.
  • Fastbuzz News web-based news reader; subscribe to searches of RSS feeds, mailing lists and forums and get deliveries by email; FAQ; review
  • NewsIsFree lets you create customized news pages with feeds;

Exerecise. Place feed lists into a Web-based viewer:

    • RSS-Xpress RSS channel viewer and editor. Try this exercise:
      1. View ResearchBuzz (RSS 0.91) -
      2. Compare to Perl News (RSS 1.0) -
        Click view to see the HTML presentation. Click "edit and then "save" or "source" to view XML.
      3. For comparsion, try one of these other viewers:
    • Redland RSS 1.0 Viewer (browser-based, displays RSS 1.0 RSS) - check "yes" to format the results in a simple box.


Locate and Search RSS Feeds

For people looking for RSS feeds on a specific subject, there are various directories to browse through. Content providers provide categorized lists of their channels in OCS (Open Content Syndication) and OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) formats. Download channels from an aggregator or syndicator and then install them in your viewer:

  • DMOZ Weblogs - select, annotated directory of nearly 2,800. Select "only in On_the_Web/Weblogs" from the drop down and enter keywords to locate channels or drill down through the directory and browse.

  • – an aggregator and directory service with over 7,300 feeds. Read "How to Use Syndic8." Use the search box "filter" to find feeds. Find the feed, for example, for a Novell site for government. What version of RSS does it use? Look at the Website. Compare the XML and site that of UKOLN. Use the Open Directory (DMOZ) and find a feed for a subject category of interest to you.

  • NewsIsFree by Mike Krus - aggregates headlines, mostly in RSS 0.92 format, from nearly 6,500 source feeds. If you create an account there, you can use the web site as a cloud-based personal aggregator. Any of the feeds it collects can be added to custom pages that you define. Their OCS Service List is an XML of exportable RSS channels.

  • OnContent - search the database, feeds are parsed by their scripts, and delivered to your site for display in a usable format

  • EatonWeb Portal - search for over 8,000 RSS channels or browse by category

  • RSS Newsfeeds

  • 10 am. - OCS Service Directory is an XML file of their channels


Examples of Sites Employing RSS

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Ray Matthews