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#11 The Wide World of Podcasting

2009 August 11
by naomi

What are podcasts and vidcasts?

Watch this short Commoncraft video to get an overview of podcasting.

The word podcast is used to refer to an audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. Sometimes people call the video broadcasts vidcasts.

You don’t have to have an iPod or an MP3 player to listen to podcasts. You can listen to them right on your PC or Mac. You’ll need headphones or a speaker and the ability/permission to download – check with your tech support.

Who creates podcasts?

  • Traditional radio broadcasters like NPR and BBC
  • Television stations like CNN for news and lots of t.v. shows have official podcasts where producers, directors and actors give insight into the show
  • Libraries — check out this list of libraries with regular podcasts
  • Anybody with a microphone, a computer, and an Internet connection that has something to say and share. The possibilities are endless when you think about all the wonderful authors to be interviewed, museum exhibits to discuss, scientific advancements to share, live music to listen to….

Discovery Exercise

  1. Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed below and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. (You can type in the word library to find library podcasts.)

2.   Listen to one (or more) podcast(s) that you find.

3.   Blog about the podcast(s). (Please title your post “Method 11”.) Did you find anything useful and/or do you think your library might have a potential reason  to begin creating podcasts?

If you find a podcast you enjoy, you might want to subscribe to it, so that you don’t miss an episode. Use RSS or one of the podcast subscription services listed above to subscribe.

Why should you know about podcasts and vidcasts?

With the introduction of mobile devices like the iPod, mp3 player and and phones like the iPhone, the world of the web is becoming more and more portable. People want:

  • Opt-in
  • Mobile
  • On demand

Podcasts fit the bill perfectly!

  • I subscribe to what I want (opt-in)
  • I can take it with me (mobile)
  • I get updates automatically through a subscription, or grab off the web 24/7/365 (on demand)

Think about it! People could subscribe to a podcast about library events that comes out once a week. They can get the podcast automatically through software specially designed for this (see next section), and they can listen to it on the go.

About Podcast Subscription Software (aka podcatchers)

For convenience, you can subscribe to your favorite podcasts and have them automatically downloaded to your podcast subscription software (see below) each time a podcast is updated.

iTunes is one way to subscribe to podcasts. iTunes is a free download, and works on both PCs and Macs. Another free software player option is Juice . (View a list of podcatchers in Wikipedia.) Once you select and download your software, follow the instructions on how to subscribe to podcasts. After the podcast files are downloaded, they can be transferred to your mp3 player, if you have one.

You can also subscribe to a podcast in an RSS reader, so that you are alerted when a new podcast is posted on your favorite site. (Review RSS and RSS readers here.)

More information for the curious

Make your own podcasts!
Want to make your own podcast and share it on the web? Look at these sites for free software and hints on creating podcasts. As always, add any podcasts you create to your blog.

The video on this page was embedded from YouTube, which allows you to subscribe to their favorite channels, which makes YouTube a podcasting (or vidcasting) service. And to make YouTube even more fabulous, you can embed video from YouTube to blogs, wikis, websites, and social websites, like Facebook.

Why “podcast?”
The word “podcast” comes from the combination of iPod + broadcast. iPods were the first portable devices that had scripts that allowed podcasts to be automatically transferred to the device.

Finished learning this Two-Stepping Method? When you’re ready, move on to your final method — Method 12!

4 Responses leave one →
  1. November 9, 2009

    We are coming to the end of the Dozen Ways to Two-Step.

    Just a short time ago I was starting and wondering how I would get through all of this on top of all the other things librarians are required to complete.

    This was very easy. Each method built upon the next and once you learned one it meshed with the others.

    I was a little nervous about Method 11 and Podcasts. I have been wanting to create podcasts for the Government Information department about new items in the area. Now I feel much more confident of producing a cast for students.

  2. DeAnna Willman permalink
    December 9, 2009

    I forgot my password into blogger and it has yet to return an email allowing me to change the password, so I will just ruminate here. I still think that the best method we have done so far is twitter. However, I do see real possibility with podcasts for libraries. It would be neat to place podcasts on our website and twitter page of authors or speakers that will be coming to the library. The possibilities are limitless to the podcasts! This method I enjoyed.

  3. Demetria Williams permalink
    February 25, 2010

    I like podcasts. I have looked at several on itunes for another class. I think podcasts are wonderful and will be an asset to any library. I can’t believe I have finish before the deadline. Yipee!!!

  4. Juanita Hazelton permalink
    March 1, 2010

    I have participated in a podcast for NETLS. It was worrisome at first, but actal particpation turned out to be fun. I’d like to try some podcasts about books on our library webpage. Juanita H.

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