Audio Collections: Remote Collections: Podcasting
In recent years, podcasting has attracted a lot of interest and attention for users of digital technology. The idea or concept for podcasts first emerged in 2000 and was demonstrated early the next year by developer, Dave Winer, when he enclosed a Grateful Dead song in his webblog. For two years nothing much happened with the technology, known then as audioblogging. However in 2003 another developer, Stephen Downes developed an application that could scan and collect audio feeds. Others including Winer further refined and developed the processes and adoption and use of the technology exploded (Learn much more at History of Podcasting from Wikipedia).
Podcasting experienced a 25-fold increase from January through May of 2005. So much growth that by December 2005, the editor-in-chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary declared podcast as their "word of the year." Radio broadcasters were among the early adopters, providing downloadable files of their programs called "podcasts."
Many organizations began to create podcasts as a way to share their information.
Go to Science Update and listen to a portion of a podcast from the (AAAS) American Association for the Advancement of Science.
More recently, many radio broadcasts have reversed the feed to now include significant podcast components within their live programs. Today you can listen to literally hundreds of thousands of programs by their podcasts; everything from National Public Radio to coverage of a favorite sporting event.
Read Rainie, Lee and Madden, Mary (Apr 2005). Podcasting Catches On. Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Watch and listen to a videocast interview by Steve Garfield of teen podcaster Michael Fogelman.
But you may still be asking, what is a podcast? If you need a better understanding of the technology, read Podcast at Wikipedia.
The word podcast was derived from the combination of "broadcasting" and "iPod." Remember that podcast refers to a series of episodes rather than just one program. Individual podcast programs are sometimes called 'shows."
Podcasting is a method of automatically distributing multimedia files (Our focus here is on audio podcasts) over the internet. Podcasts are received via RSS feeds (really simple syndication) that allows the automatic download of audio files. It is like having a radio program delivered to your door every day, every week, or every so often. Podcasts were originally created to be heard on an iPod (Apple's MP3 mobile device) but they can be accessed on any computer or other MP3 mobile player. Podcast is probably not the best title for these audio program feeds, because today most users do not download them to their iPod or MP3 player. They are more likely to listen to a podcast through a computer.
Podcasting terminology and technology is still evolving. The lines between technologies is sometimes blurred, overlapping and possibly confusing. When audio files are incorporated into blogs, it's still called audioblogging. Those audio files may supplement text blogs or be primarily audio journals. When mainly used to share music, the term MP3 blog, musicblog, or audioblog is often used.
Research Related to Music / Audio Downloads and Podcasts
In a 2005 study, How Women and Men Use the Internet (PDF) from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, it was found that women and men are equally likely to play online games, listen to audio clips, and watch video clips. For example, 56% of men and 57% of women listen to audio online and 36% of men and 37% of women play online games. Another study called Music and Video Downloading (2005) stated that "about 36 million Americans—or 27% of internet users—say they download either music or video files and about half of them have found ways outside of traditional peer-to-peer networks or paid online services to swap their files."
Getting Started with Podcasts
In order to listen to podcasts, you do not necessarily have to have an iPod or other type MP3 players (they will do fine though!). You can download and hear podcasts on your computer using free tools such as the free open source software: Juice, a podcast receiver or podcast aggregator. Thousands of podcasts are available at the iTunes Store. Go to Tips for Podcast Fans to learn more. Podcast directories such as iPodder.org , Podfeed.net, and Podcast Directory at Podcasting News can be used to locate and track thousands more.
All that you have to do is find a program and subscribe or if available, select the option to "listen now." If you stream (listen right away) the podcast, nothing gets downloaded to your computer; no need to worry about available storage space. Many people stream podcasts to see if they want to download and commit to receiving a show again and again (subscribe). An advantage to having a subscription is that the program(s) are downloaded when your computer or MP3 player is connected, and you can playback or listen at your convenience or as many times as you wish. Just remember that the downloaded file will remain stored until you delete it, and audio files can fill up your memory fast.
Aggregator / Podcasting Receiver Software
This is the software needed so that your MP3 player, computer, or other device can read the RSS podcast feed. Podcasting News provides a listing of Podcast Software (Clients); software for subscribing to and receiving podcasts. Two of the most popular options that can be used with both the PC and Mac platforms are (1) iTunes and (2) Juice.
There are a few search programs that are dedicated to finding only podcasts.:
Directories that index / categorize podcasts within their collections can help you quickly locate programs of interest. Many of these have search engines that find programs within their collections. Podcast Inspector searches within a select number of podcasting sites / podcast directories. A favorite directory is LearnOutLoud. Explore some of these, identify a few of your favorites, and get started locating podcasts that you and library users might use.
- All Podcasts - Indexed and searchable
- AmigoFish - Podcast and videoblogs index search
- AudioFeeds - Independent music podcasts
- Digital Podcasts
- Business Podcast Directory from iBizRadio
- Emergency Podcast System - 'Civil Defense against the Mundane'
- GigaDial - Find and subscribe to podcast-powered radio stations
- Godcast 1000 - Christian podcasts
- Godcast Network
- Podcast 411- Directory of podcasts
- Podcast Alley
- Podcast Bunker
- Podcast.com Podcast Directory from Podcasting News
- Podcast Pickle
- Podcast Zoom
- Teen Podcasters Network by teens for teens
Dr.J's Jags & Jabs
Are you still confused by the podcasting term; not seeing the difference from an audio file available for download or streaming to your desktop? The difference is more than just being able to be received on an iPod.
The biggest difference is the way that podcasts are published. You can subscribe to a particular program (sometimes referrred to as being syndicated) to have them download automatically. This is done using software capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.
For example the embedded MP3 audio files that I have placed within the Course Guides are NOT podcasts. They cannot be automatically downloaded, you have to click on the player bar to listen.
This may seem like a fine-line, but people often set up their aggregator so that it automatically brings them their favorite programs via the RSS feed. That is the biggest factor (in addition to the original idea for the iPod; largely displaced today) about Podcasts, and this was not possible until recent years.
Clues that visually identify that materials are available as RSS webfeeds / sitefeeds are an audio icon (the golden rectangle with bars symbol) and the RSS or XML icon (usually orange rectangles with letters XML or RSS) on the providing webpage. To give you the idea, here are several icon samples (Below and to the right, these are NOT active):
Audio and Podcasts in Libraries and Learning
From poetry readings to language learning, there are many possibilities for audio blogging and podcasting in education and libraries.
Read Ishizuka, Kathy (Sep 2005). Tell Me A Story. This article explores how a school media specialist promotes reading through podcasts.
Read Lamb, Annette, & Johnson, Larry (2007). Podcasting in the School Library, Part 1: Integrating Podcasts and Vodcasts into Teaching and Learning (Access requires login) (PDF document). Teacher Librarian; 34(3), 54-7. Retrieved from Education Full Text database.
Also read (Apr 2007). Part 2: Creating Powerful Podcasts with Your Students (Access requires login). Teacher Librarian; 34, no. 4: 61-64. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost.
Read Riddle, Johanna (2010). Podcasting in the Classroom: A Sound Success (Access requires login). MultiMedia & Internet@Schools; 17(1), 23-26. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Explore Apple's iTunes U. Their goal is "to advance teaching, learning, and research through innovation, and engage and empower students." The system delivers educational content free through iTunes and can be downloaded to the iPod.
Listen or sample several of these podcast programs:
Podcasting by Kids
- ACE Kids: Podcasting with Class - Year 3-4 students
- Best of Youth Radio
- Downs FM, The - Primary school, year 6 students
- Radio WillowWeb - Radio for kids, by kids (Program archive) at Willowdale Elementary School, Omaha, NB.
Also available at iTunes
- Sandaig Primary School - Glasgow, Scotland
- Art History from LearnOutLoud
- Introduction to Visual Thinking by John S. McNamara - Language, processes, and media of visual art
- Simply Quilts - Quilting radio shows from Alex Anderson Quilts
Communication, English, and Literature
- Books at NPR
- Entitled Opinions by Robert Harrison, Stanford University
- Just Vocabulary by Jan Folmer
- LibriVox - Books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format
- Literature in English by John Bishop, Berkeley University
- Modern Scholar, The by Gretta Cohn
- World at War Podcasts: 1940's Radio Dramas
- ChinesePod - Learn Mandarin Chinese
- English as a Second Language by the Center for Educational Development
- Learn French with Alexa - French for beginners
- FrenchPod Class
- Insta Spanish by Stacey Tipton
- Learn Spanish - Survival Guide by David Spencer
- Let's Speak Italian
- Spanish Podcasts for Beginners
- Spoonful of Russian
- Library Audio to Go: Podcast - George C. Gordon Library, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA
- Library Geeks
- LibVibe - Library news podcast
- Podcasting - Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki - Links to several libraries offering selected podcast resources
- Small Business How-to Video Seminars and Podcasts from the New York Public Library, Science, Industry & Business Library
Math & Science
- ACME Science - Combinations and Permutations plus Strongly Connected Components
- All in Mind from ABC Radio National - Weekly foray into the mental universe, the mind, brain and behavior.
- Instant Anatomy
- Living on Earth
- Math Factor
- Mathematical Moments
- Math Mutation by Erik Seligman
- Naked Scientists Podcasts at Cambridge University, UK
- Planetary Radio Podcast
- San Diego Zoo
- Science Podcasts from Science Magazine, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- Slacker Astronomy
- This Week in Science - "The Kickass Science Podcast"
- 12 Byzantine Rulers - History of the Byzantine Empire by Lars Brownworth
- ABC Podcasts (American Broadcasting Company)
- American Experience Podcasts from WGBH
- CBS News Podcasts
- Colonial Williamsburg: Past and Present
- History According to Bob
- Journey's Into American History from Radio Memories Network and libsyn.com
- Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders by Forrest Glick
- In Our Time - Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of ideas
- Introduction to Computers by Americ Azevedo
- Silicon Valley, Technolgy, Media Info Talk by Podtech.net
- TEDTalks by Anthony Robbins - TED hosts some of the world's most fascinating people
Below you find a few more sources of audio podcast programs.
Radio Podcast Programs:
- Public Radio Podcast Directory
- Download and Podcast Trail from BBC Radio (United Kingdom)
- NPR Podcast Director
- Podcasts from CBC Radio (Canada)
- Podcasting and MP3s from Radio National (Australia)
- Podcasts and Streaming Media from Kankakee Public Library (IL)
- TWiT Netcast Network with Leo Laporte - "The tech guy on KFI"
Other Podcast Programs:
- Audio and Video Podcasts from the Washington Post
- myslaw's Podcasts from Massachusetts School of Law
- Nature Stories from The Nature Conservancy
- Official Disneyland Resort Podcast
- Podcasts at the Internet Archive - All created from user contributions to the Open Source Audio collection.
- Science Update Podcast - (AAAS) American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Sports Podcast Network
Other Online Resources for Podcasting
Now that you have listened to some varied examples of podcasts, what about making your own podcasts? Here are a few start-up locations:
- Learning in Hand - Resources for K-12 learning.
- Podcasting 101 - Wiki for libraries and librarians from Greg Schwartz
- Podcasting Legal Guide from Creative Commons
- Podcasting News - Articles, forums, news, directory and more, all about podcasting.
- Teachers Teaching Teachers - Skyping, webcasting, podcasting and blogging by and for teachers.
Dr.J's Jags & Jabs
Let's think a little about audio conferencing. A few years ago, this usually meant a traditional telephone conference call but today with the Internet, there are several more options.
Instant messaging (IM) involves real-time communication between two or more people through a network such as the Internet. Although instant messaging traditionally involves text-based sharing, many of the IM services now provide tools for sharing images, audio, and video. In addition to software and an Internet connection, you'll also need a web cam and microphone. Some computers such as the newer Macs come with a camera and microphone embedded in the monitor. However it's also possible to buy external cameras such as the iSight. You can also purchase an inexpensive "eyeball" type camera or hook up your video camera. The IM software programs include AOL Instant Messaging, Google Chat, and Yahoo Messenger (all handle text, audio, video communications). Microsoft also has Live Meeting, a program that can facilitate an audio conference. Mac users can use the Apple iChat AV software for Mac OS X to facilitate for audio (up to ten people) and video conferencing (up to 4 people) over the AIM (AOL Instant Messaging) protocol.
Services such as Skype provide proprietary peer-to-peer Voice over IP (VoIP) networks that can be used to conduct telephone-like conversations and conferences over the Internet. Learn more about Skype at Wikipedia.
In the next few weeks, you will also be reading seeing examples of another closely related topic: videocasting. And later on you can investigate ways of creating your own podcasts.