Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thing 21: Podcasts

Podcasts are audio files that are distributed using some form of web feed such as RSS, like blogs. Though the word "podcast" is a combination of the terms "iPod" and "broadcast," it does not refer solely to feeds that are used by iPod owners. You can listen to podcasts on your computer, mp3 player, or other audio devices.

Most podcasts are distributed as MP3 files. Programs that are designed to receive podcasts are known as "podcatchers." They are similar to the "aggregators" used with blog posts. You can find a list of common podcatchers at:


Libraries use podcasts in a variety of ways. Some put out weekly news segments on new events and materials. Others use them to record booktalks, presentations, or storytimes. Some even create virtual tours of the library, so a patron can literally walk through the library while listening to descriptions of services or materials on his or her mp3 player.

The Library Success Wiki provides a good list of library podcasts on its podcasting page at

Other lists of podcasts can be found at:

Podcast Alley


The Education Podcast Network

For Thing 21, listen to a few library podcasts, and write about them in your blog. How was the audio quality? Were they interesting enough to make you want to subscribe to them? What sorts of topics did they cover

If you decide to create a podcast for your library, all you need is a microphone, a computer, and basic audio editing software. Audacity is a free, easy to use editor that works on Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, Linux, and other operating systems. You can read more about it and download it at


The optional LAME plugin for Audacity allows you to save your recordings to the MP3 format. You can find more information on LAME in the Audacity FAQ at


The Library Success Wiki page (listed above) lists some great tools for "publishing" podcasts under its "How to Podcast" section.

Do you think that podcasts be useful to your patrons? If so, what types of podcasts do you think would interest them? Post your thoughts to your blog.

1 comment:

JJR said...

I really enjoyed the LibVibe podcast, which was devoted to library-related news. I liked it even better than the podcast affiliated with the blog "LIS News", actually, but sadly LibVibe is no more.

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