Posted 01 July 2013
By Alexander Gaffney, RF News Editor
Really Simple Syndication, more commonly known by the acronym RSS, is one of those most powerful and elegant tools for keeping track of regulatory information available.
Like many regulatory documents, the standard is built on an extensible markup language (XML) backbone, and allows a website to publish RSS "feeds" to users, who can view the RSS feeds of hundreds, even thousands of websites in a single aggregating application.
To get a sense of the benefit, consider the following scenario: You are an avid reader of 100 websites, all of which update at infrequent and random intervals. You could go to all 100 websites multiple times per day, every day, to see if that information has been updated. Conversely, you could check your RSS reader once, which would automatically import information about a new story automatically. Which would you prefer to do?
If you answered affirmatively to the option involving the RSS reader, this resource is for you.
RSS: The Basics
At its most basic, an RSS reader is a way to collect many feeds into a single application. Some of these applications are web-based, while others are software applications that are installed onto an individual computer, which may be useful for security reasons or as a means to back up files periodically.
For years, the standard for RSS readers was Google's "Google Reader," an RSS feed that was highly functional and permitted some degree of customization. However, as of 1 July 2013, Google Reader has shut down for good, leaving its millions of users to seek viable alternatives.
Some of the most popular web-based alternatives now include:
For those who prefer a desktop-based version of an RSS reader (i.e. only available from a single device), you might also wish to check out FeedDemon.
Once a user signs up for one of these services, adding a feed is generally easy. Feedly, for example, has an "Add Content" tab where you can cut and paste a feed's URL.
These tools will allow you to aggregate feeds into easy-to-read formats, and crucially allow users to customize and organize feeds.
But where do you find RSS feeds? Many websites makes their feeds publicly available, and are most often found next to a corresponding orange logo with two white waves emanating from a white dot.
But "collecting" those feeds can take take a long, long time. Particularly in the field of regulatory affairs, finding specialized information can be a tedious process, and not all websites have an RSS feed. Others have one (or several), but it is time consuming to track down.
For example, Regulatory Focus has several RSS feeds, including:
That's why Regulatory Focus is pleased to bring you this extensive, curated list of popular RSS feeds related to regulatory affairs-the agencies, the news sites, the influencers and the forums of discussion you're most likely to want to keep track of.
Below you'll find RSS feeds from the following topics: biologics, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, government sources, subscription sources, expert commentary, legal analysis, political sites, dietary supplements, general regulatory affairs, regulatory marketing, general health sites, and general industry sites.
Did we miss a website you feel is important to include? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll check it out for our next update.
A helpful reader has organized all of the above RSS feeds into a single OMPL file that you can download and import into an existing RSS feed if you so chose. That file is available here.