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Graduate Workshop 2011: Find Information while you Sleep: Feed Readers

Feed Readers

There are three main types of RSS feed readers.

1. Desktop-based

  • For these, you download and install a program on your computer. You will probably get the most features and tools to manage your RSS feeds with this type of reader. Depending on the reader, you might only be able to read your RSS feeds from the computer you have the software installed on, but many readers now have an option  to sync with Google Reader and/or between computers. Some readers also allow you to download your feeds and read them off-line.

2. Web-based

  • No downloads needed for web-based readers. You just set up an account. You might not have as many features as a desktop-based reader, but you can read your feeds from any computer with Internet access. Some might have banner ads.

3. Browser-based

  • No account or downloads needed. Use your Internet browser (Firefox, IE, etc.) to manage your RSS feeds. You will only be able to read your RSS feeds from one computer. There are not as many ways to manage and organize your feeds with this option.

4. Email-based

  • If you have an email program like Outlook or Thunderbird, you can use your email client as an RSS reader. From there, you can move, save, and delete the feed items like normal emails. (Please note that MU's student email can't be used an an RSS reader. A RSS folder may be included in Outlook Web Access, but is non functional.)

The list below includes some top readers, but a more comprehensive list can be accessed here, here or via a Google search.

Go here to learn RSS tricks like turning RSS into email alerts, turning emails into RSS feeds, creating an RSS feed for a website that doesn't have one, and creating an RSS on a Google search.

Desktop-based Readers


free version with ads

aprx. $20 pro version: features here


Can sync with Google Reader




powerful and clean interface; features

Omea Reader

Omea Pro

both reader and pro are free


pro version comes with an email client, and can read Word, Excel Acrobat, and pictures; more features

RSS Bandit



Can sync with Google Reader; Facebook integration;  more features



Windows/Mac OS X/Linux


Can sync with Google Reader; more features




With a free account, can sync between computers and iPad and iPhone; more features

Web-based Readers


widget-based view; customizable views; mobile interface; can add widgets for social media sites like Facebook


a personalized Google homepage with the ability to add RSS widgets; more information

Google Reader

popular reader; many keyboard short cuts; can tag, share, follow friends, email, and sort; mobile interface; more features

Google Reader can be customized further by installing:


integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Gmail and customizes the Google Reader interface

My Syndicaat

mobile interface; after 60 days, you are limited to 5 channels each combining up to 5 feeds; nice filtering options

My Yahoo

a personalized Yahoo homepage with the ability to add RSS widgets; more information

Browser-based Readers

Contact for Assistance

Ashley Nelson
(573) 882-1670

Ellis Library Reference
(573) 882-4581
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