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Tutorial: Editing the RSS

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A sample RSS file template is provided and can be edited for use with your media files so others can subscribe to your podcast. XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language and in this case, merely indicates the format of the file, so the computer knows what rules to follow when processing it. RSS often stands for Really Simple Syndication and is a type of XML dialect specifically created for subscription-based content.

At the beginning of the file, you will see information about the podcast itself. This includes required information such as: title, description, and link to your webpage, as well as non-required information including copyright information, and your email address (webMaster). lastBuildDate refers to the last time the podcast content changed, and pubDate is the publication date, which is often the same as lastBuildDate. The format of the dates is important, and should be retained as best as possible.

In the middle of the file you will see areas for each podcast episode designated by the <item> tag. In this file you will see two episode items, but you will only need to include one for your first episode. title and description should be filled out for each 'episode' and you can include a link to the media file, or to a corresponding blog post. The <enclosure> tag is the required, with a url attribute pointing to the URL of your media file. Length is that file’s size in bytes, and type is what standard MIME (media) type it is. If you are using mp3s to record audio, you can leave this as "audio/mpeg". category is optional and pubDate is the date this particular episode was published. Again, the date format is important here.

For more in-depth information about the elements in this file, refer to: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss

It is important for your XML file to be 'well-formed,' which means that all tags are lowercase and ended properly and that there are no errors or typos in the tags. You can use this online tool to check your XML file: http://www.cogsci.ed.ac.uk/~richard/xml-check.html

For questions email the Digital Studio.