I have to admit that during the course when Jay told us first about aggregators and RSS I was really confused and didn't really get the whole sense out of it. But thanks to Angelika I got to this wonderful page and I was able to go through it. Now I'm little into it and think I will be able to explain what aggregateors are and how they can be used.
An aggregator is like an invisible helper that keeps you updated about what's happening on selected webpages. Due to the number of pages that may be of interest people do not have the time to go through all pages everyday to see if there is something new on them. the aggregator can! It collects all the new information on predefined sites and instead of having to look at a houndred pages you just have to look at one to see what has happened in your online world. The technology that makes this things possible is called RSS – Really Simple Syndication. It enables the aggregator to realize when the page has been renewed. Obviously not all pages provide these RSS feeds but the number is growing rapidly.
Aggreagators exist in 2 different designs: the e-mail design where the information is sent via email to the receipient (like google alerts) and the webbased design (like myYahoo! ) that enables the user to watch it's aggregator wherever he/she has access to the internet.
Have a look at our course aggregator to see how it works!