Thing 19. Podcasts

The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. Web sites may offer direct download or streaming of their content. However, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS. Podcasts take many forms. They can be short 1-10 minutes commentaries to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions--sort of "radio on demand." There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area.

You don’t have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to listen to podcasts, although a portable device is handy. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you just need a PC with headphones or a speaker (and ability/permission to download; check with your tech support).

There are many ways to find podcasts. This Thing introduces you to some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your blog reader (i.e., Bloglines or Google Reader) account, so that when new podcasts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.

1. Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed in Resources to find a podcast that interests you or listen to a local podcast in the list. Find some interesting library-related podcasts like book reviews or library news or a podcast on anything else that interests you.
2. Listen to one more of the podcasts. Link it in your blog if you would recommend it to others.
3. Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your blog reader account.
4. Try this simple, telephone-based tool that let's you "phone in" your podcast. Gcast says it's so easy your grandma could do it.

Local Podcasts

There are many, many podcast directories and finding tools out there. Here are just three of the more popular ones that don’t require a software download:

iTunes recently added iTunes U. College and university faculty post content they create for their classes. Students and others can download what they need, and go. Download iTunes (free) here for either Mac or Windows.

Blog Prompts
1. Which podcast(s) did you listen to?
2. Which of the directories did you find easiest to use?
3. Has this Thing inspired you to do any podcasting yourself or to subscribe to a podcast to listen to it regularly?

Got something you want to share? Look at these sites for free software and hints on creating podcasts. As always, add any podcasts you create to your blog.
1. Create a podcast on a topic of interest to you. Post it on your blog.
2. Blog about your experience with the software and the podcasting experience.


Blue Cat said...

I down lowed Audasity and LAME, I finally got it to record, then I exported the file and saved it to my web site, but I couldn't get it to show up in my blog. I can hear it on the website (very bad, much editing needed) so why can't I get it loaded on my blog?

Bejowa said...

I had the same problem, but it worked when I added it as an HTML/Java Script element in te Layout area. It starts playing whenever I open my blog now, though.

Miss Shelved said...

Would be interested to hear how others view the issues of privacy, parental permissions, security, etc. when podcasting student work. Is identifying the school plus first names plus images too much? Where do we draw the line between "sharing" and privacy when student work is involved?

IfallslibraryDiane said...

Podcast Alley doesn't seem to be updating or the people posting to Podcast Alley don't seem to be updating. I'm not sure which. I clicked on the link and it said it didn't find any Minnesota podcasts, but when I went directly to podcast alley and did a search on Minnesota I got 114 titles but most hadn't been updated since at least 2007.