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Health Canada RSS Feeds

What is RSS?

RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a useful tool for keeping updated on your favorite Web sites. Updates to the site are broadcast to subscribers through an RSS feed. Sign up for an RSS feed and a message will appear in your feed reader every time new information is added to that section of the Health Canada Web site. When an update is sent out, it includes a headline and a small amount of text, either a summary or the lead-in to the larger story.

RSS feeds have addresses like a Web site, but you can't read them directly with your browser. They have a different format than Web pages, so you'll view garbled text if you try. In order to receive RSS feeds, you must have an aggregator, otherwise called a feed reader. There are a number of free aggregators online, and with a little searching you will be able to find an interface that appeals to you. In addition to availability on your computer, RSS feeds can also be read on PDAs and cell phones.

When you find a Web site you would like to add to your aggregator, you can do so in one of two ways.

  1. Most sites that offer an RSS feed have an RSS or XML button on their homepage that you can click on and instantly add that feed to your aggregator.
  2. Depending on your aggregator, you may instead need to copy and paste the URL of the feed into the program.

By either method, the feed will be available as soon as you've added it, and your next update could arrive at any given moment. If you decide that you no longer want to receive updates, simply delete the feed or URL from your aggregator.

Why use RSS?

Notifications about Health Canada news releases, advisories, warnings and recalls are also available via an email list. So why use RSS? Some people prefer to subscribe to Web updates via RSS and view them in a feed reader, so that their email box doesn't fill up with mailing list messages. A feed reader allows you to subscribe to news, blogs and other frequently updated content, and view it at your convenience, separate from your inbox.

For more on RSS, including links to various feed readers, visit the Next link will take you to another Web site Government of Canada's main RSS page.

What do RSS feeds look like?

RSS feeds are an XML file containing custom tags that describe features of the RSS headline such as title, description, link, and the Web page publishing date. We invite you to view the News Release RSS through an RSS reader or in your browser at the following link:

Example: Health Canada RSS

RSS readers parse the RSS-XML files on a scheduled basis, gather all of the information in the RSS reader, and display it in a logical structured manner.

Online Readers/Aggregators

An RSS Reader, also known as an aggregator, will download and display RSS feeds for you. Many readers are separate programs; where other services, such as My Yahoo!, will let you add RSS feeds directly to a Web page.

The RSS readers/aggregators allow users to receive links to updated Web content, and view it at their convenience. When users sign up for an RSS feed, a message will appear in their feed reader every time new information is added to the Web site.

The following are a few of the many RSS readers/aggregators available for free download or for purchase on the Web:

To view one of the RSS feeds online in an RSS Reader/Aggregator:

  1. Copy the .xml URL link; and
  2. Paste it into your reader.

Email RSS Services

There is also an added service where you can register online to have the RSS feed sent directly to your email account.

The following are a few free online services that let you subscribe to RSS feeds via email:

To receive email notices through an email RSS service:

  1. Copy the .xml URL link; and
  2. Paste it into the email subscription page.

More Info

For detailed information on RSS, go to the Next link will take you to another Web site RSS specifications Web site.

Technical problems? Feedback?

Health Canada is offering these feeds on a trial basis. Please let us know if you encounter any technical problems, have a suggestion, or just want to tell us that you find the feeds useful.