Monday, 15 August 2011

Week 9, Thing 17 : Podcasts

A podcast is a pre-recorded audio or video broadcast that has been published on the web. It can be subscribed to and downloaded via a RSS feed to your media player or PC.  Lots of people have created podcasts ranging from tv shows, interviews, lectures, library inductions, commentaries and just about anything you can think of on any subject.  One of the reasons for their popularity is that users are subscribing to the content they want and if they subscribe to a series then new content is automatically downloaded so they do not have to keep checking back for updates.  

Still unsure then check out the following video on podcasting in plain English by Common Craft  :


Where do I find some podcasts?
Podcasts can be listened to and or watched via your PC or downloaded onto your ipods or MP3 players.  If you use iTunes then check out Apple's iTunes store for lots of free podcasts.  Radio and tv stations also create podcasts, for example the BBC, and there are numerous directories such as Podcast Alley to help you locate podcasts in your area of interest.

Libraries and podcasts
More and more libraries are using podcasts to create audio tours of their library or to promote new services and introduce staff. A search on 'library' at Podcast Alley had over 150 results of library related podcasts. Some UK examples include:

University of Aberdeen's induction podcasts
CILIP Communities podcasts
The British Library's Lecture, talk and event podcasts

Creating a podcast
This blog is not going to go into a step by step guide on how to create a podcast, especially as I have never made one, but for an audio podcast you just need a microphone and the software to create the file.  Hopefully before the Cam23 2.0 programme ends, Classics will have produced a podcast introduction to our collections which we will share with you, including how we did it.  Some of you in the screencasting Thing may have created audio/video files that you made available on your blogs.  These may serve the same purpose as a podcast for one off events.  The University of Cambridge runs training on using the Camtasia software (available on the pwf) for creating video tutorials if you are interested in exploring this area further.

Streaming Media Services
Although the definition of podcasting refers to files that are subscribed to and downloaded, many of the video and radio podcasts are watchable without a subscription and, in the case of such sites as YouTube and the Cambridge Streaming Media Service, you can just search for a video and watch it direct.  Not all the content is officially podcasts but loading a video in such a high profile area may lead to people seeking out your podcasts if you develop a series on your library.  Plus there is some fun stuff out there!

The University of Cambridge's streaming media service includes interviews, tutorials and lectures for viewing or downloading.  The service will also host files for departments, institutions and colleges within the University releasing space on your own servers.  Choose the 'institution' tab at the top to see a list of entries including Cambridge University Library and their how to use the widget guide.

On YouTube there are any number of library related videos.  Here are some (old) favourites:

Nice Spice : Study like a Scholar

Cookie Monster pays a visit to the library - where are the cookies?

 Goggle Vision : using electronic resources

Introducing the L-Team - let your users know who you are in a memorable way!

What to blog about?
Time to blog about podcasts. You might want to comment on how you think you might use podcasts in your library or some of the useful podcasts you have seen created by libraries.  Is a podcast just a marketing tool or can you use it to add value to your services for your library users? Or just have some fun watching some of the library YouTube videos and let us know if you find any that you think are effective.

What next?
There is an extra thing this week on Creative Commons licensing and then next week is another reflection week (or, as I am sure you all like to think of it, a catch up week). 

Thanks to Andy Priestner for the ideas from his original podcasting blog last year for the Cam23 Things programme.

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