Thing 18: Podcasts

What makes a voice recording a podcast?

Despite many audio and visual sources being available on the internet, the term podcast really only comes into play when that content can be subscribed to or syndicated, or downloaded automatically (e.g. via RSS) when new content becomes available.

Podcasts can be listened to via your PC or downloaded onto your smartphone or ipod/mp3 player. If you are an Apple user then there are thousands to choose from on iTunes or iTunesU . For those visual learners out there, here’s a Common Craft YouTube clip on Podcasting:

So how do I find podcasts that interest me?
You can use one of the podcast directories (PodcastAlley or the wonderfully named Podcast Ferret ) or take a look at podcastnation where you can submit your own. A quick straw poll of colleagues highlighted the following but of course there are many library-related ones available.

I sometimes download some for long train or car journeys – if you have an MP3 player you can do this easily through iTunes or directly from the sites below.

BBC has loads – Radio 3 Composer of the Week, The Archers, Books and Authors, Desert Island Dics, Lauren Laverne
Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time
Joshua Rozenberg’s Law in Action
Dilbert Animated Cartoons
Alexander McCall Smith’s online novel Corduroy Mansions(Telegraph)
David Mitchell’s Soapbox (Guardian)
National Gallery monthly


The service was created to manage, distribute, and control access to educational audio and video content and PDF files for students within a college or university as well as the broader Internet; it has since been updated to include schools..



Open University

Oxford University

Library ones
Library of Congress – featured podcast series include Digital Preservation Slave Narratives and Music and the Brain
British Library – talks, lectures, discussions as well as those focused around current exhibitions. I liked: Educational standards: not as good as in my day and Who owns the future of the story?
Goldsmiths has a podcast tour of their library to help new students,  whilst other universities Oxford Brookes) use podcasts as guides for their services.
There are loads of reasons why libraries might find podcasts useful – in the public sphere, things like storytime and author talks can be great, academic libraries generally tend to focus on the areas mentioned above: tours and guides. from the University of Leeds also have podcasts on essay writing and critical thinking for their students.

The article Higher Education and Emerging Technologies: Student Usage, Preferences, and Lessons for Library Services discusses how students find podcasting an effective learning tool and academic librarians have been amazed by their popularity when they created one!

What do i do with them?
Click on the orange RSS logo to subscribe or pull into Google Reader.

How can I create my own? 
Audacity is the tool of choice for many but there is also Audioboo.

So it’s over to you! Why don’t you blog about the great podcasts you’ve found? Or maybe about where you think RHUL Library could be dipping its toe into podcasting – what should we be using the medium for? The lecture theatres are set up to record lectures and the Liaison team have been asked to do this.
You could always record one yourself …

Credit – Verena Price and Emily Allbon at City University who’s post I borrowed.


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