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.
- St. Cloud State University Memoirs for School Library Media
- Minnesota Public Radio's podcasts
- On the Road With MINITEX are podcasts produced by MINITEX Reference staff.
- Podcast Alley offers a directory of Minnesota-produced podcasts, too.
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.
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.
- How to Podcast
- Create Your Own Podcast
- Audacity is a free cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds--podcasting!
2. Blog about your experience with the software and the podcasting experience.