2018 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2018-11-19

Don's Freeware Corner notes are printed in the UTAH VALLEY TECHNOLOGY AND GENEALOGY GROUP (UVTAGG) Newsletter TAGGology each month and are posted on his Class Notes Page at   where there may be corrections, updates, and additions.


RSS stands for "RDF Site Summary", "Rich Site Summary", and "Really Simple Syndication" -- see the Wikipedia article .   RSS News readers are programs that collect all the articles from websites and blogs that you specify and organize them so you can decide which you want to read now, read later, archive, or just ignore, all in one program.   It shows you their sources, titles, metadata (data about the article), a thumbnail picture about it, and a 3- or 4-line description of it.  RSS readers are also called news aggregators or simply aggregators.  Podcasts are also distributed using RSS readers.  There are free and commercial RSS readers and the free ones are sufficient for most of us.  GOOGLE READER was a very popular one, but Google dropped it several years ago, so it's no longer available.  This article will discuss FEEDLY which is one of the most popular free ones now and is the one I've been using.  We will show where to download it, how to set it up and find and subscribe to feeds, and where to find tutorials about it.  At the end will be a few other RSS readers that you can try.


Besides the Wikipedia article mentioned above, here are other articles that list, review, and discuss RSS readers and how to use them.
What is RSS? RSS Explained -- 
CNN Newsreader --
RSS in Plain English -- 4-minute YouTube video --  
How RSS Works and Why You Should Use It -- 
What is RSS? Webopedia Definition -- RSS Tutorials -- 
How To Subscribe To RSS Feeds -- 
The 10 Best RSS Readers --  


A summary tutorial about FEEDLY is at .  To use the program, go to , download, and install it on your computer. The panel on the left side has a button +ADD CONTENT which opens a search screen where you can type in any keyword, e.g. FamilySearch or family history, and you will see a list of several websites and blogs that relate to that keyword. To subscribe to any of them click on the Follow box by its title, then click on New Feed, give it the name you want, and click CREATE.  You are now subscribed and it will keep track of all the new items on that feed for you.  As soon as you subscribe to a feed, FEEDLY shows you several more websites and blogs that are related and says something like, "People who subscribed to this one, also subscribed to these." 


I have a bookmark for FEEDLY on my browser bookmarks bar, so I can open it and see the current day's articles from all the feeds I have subscribed to. These are organized in groups by the feed and each has the title of the article and a 3- or 4-line description of it, and many have a thumbnail picture that is related. These are uniform in appearance in FEEDLY, rather than how they appear on the website or blog, and I can go through this list much faster to see which ones I am really interested in. Clicking on the title of one shows more details and brings up a link to open the actual website. To close this window click on the small tab in the upper left side. For articles I want to keep for future reference I go to the webpage and save the whole page to my EVERNOTE file using the EVERNOTE WEB CLIPPER. See information about these programs on other Freeware Corner articles and class notes on my website. For articles I want to read later, but probably won't want to save after reading, I save to POCKET. This is a free program available from  that allows you to save articles and read them on your smartphone, or your computer, when you have time, e.g. when waiting for an appointment somewhere. You can read any of the articles later in FEEDLY, too.  A few articles I read immediately from the website and only save the link, if I might want to refer to it when I'm writing notes for a class, for example.

Before I started using an RSS reader, I was clicking on each email and website that I had subscribed to to see what the new articles were and then moving that email to another folder to store it. It took time and I never seemed to have enough time to keep completely up-to-date. FEEDLY helps me with that, so now I have my email program automatically store those emails in their appropriate folders and let FEEDLY organize the articles for me. You set up the rule to store those emails in folders by forming a "rule" of what to do with that type of email.   Because of these "rules" that I have set up in my Gmail account, my Inbox is smaller and easier to go through.  However, I have noticed that it's easy to subscribe to too many feeds, so you still can't keep up. (sigh)  And the free version of FEEDLY has some limitations of the number of feeds you can subscribe to.

You may have noticed an RSS icon
on some websites, usually orange colored and with several quarter-circles.  An example of this icon is on  in the upper left corner next to the letters RSS.   Clicking on this icon allows you to read it in their RSS feed, but by copying-and-pasting the URL into your FEEDLY, you can subscribe and get those articles automatically on your own RSS reader with all your other feeds. 


As you go through a collection of articles in FEEDLY, at the bottom is a link to check to mark them all as read. You can always go back to any of those already-read articles later, if you want. If I need to find a particular article later, I can find the publication and date from FEEDLY and look up the email or website. I receive about 100 emails every day, so this organization of articles saves me time and keeps my email Inbox a little smaller.


The panel at the left side of the screen has a complete list of all the feeds you have subscribed to and clicking on any one opens that feed so you can see the articles or edit the way you have them shown. There are options there to see all articles from that feed, or only those you haven't read yet, or only those you have read, etc. There is also a button there to delete that feed, if you decide you don't want that one anymore, and it's easy to subscribe to too many feeds.


Here are a few other RSS readers that seem to be popular. Also, see the readers and reviews in the URLs given above.
Esobi -- 
Ready RSS Feed Reader -- 
FeedReader -- 


Most of us now suffer from "information overload" due to the Internet.   RSS readers can help us keep up-to-date on things of interest.  With an RSS reader you can try out different websites and blogs to see if you really want to follow them, since they are easy to subscribe to and easy to remove from an RSS reader.  They will also save you time in reading your incoming emails, since you can set some of those emails to be feeds in your reader.  FEEDLY has many more features, but this should be enough to get you started, if you are not already using an RSS reader.