Thursday, June 30, 2005

Podcasting is Mainstream

Well, it must be if Apple iTunes introduces a service to download any of 3000 podcasts, subject divided into 20 categories, to your iPod. Jenny blogged about this at the Shifted Librarian yesterday.

From the ad email I received:
The biggest thing in radio isn't on the radio. Podcasting makes it possible to hear thousands of free shows covering music, sports, politics, comedy, health, science, and just about anything imaginable. Best of all, you can enjoy podcasts whenever you want, on your computer or iPod.

Apple is offering this as a free subscription service so that you'll automagically get new podcasts for the ones you selected.

For sure, when you look at the names of the entities/people podcasting (ABC News, ESPN, WGBH, Disney, CBC Radio in Canada), the conclusion is that, very very quickly, many mainstream organizations have seen the value in this simple way to get messages out to people interested in hearing these messages. And of course, there are loads of not-so-mainstream podcasts.

In Jenny's post, she commented that she's not sure librarians have time to create podcasts. Maybe they don't but podcasting seems to me to be a no-brainer for libraries.

Here's a few things I think would make for useful podcasts for libraries, both academic and public: "how to" for all sorts of things such as renewing books, getting a library card, upcoming events, story of the week, interesting history fact of the week, news from the library, "did you know?" stories, any library information for people with low vision, any library information in languages other than English, anything at all that gives a human voice to the library! And I'd find staff members, regardless of their titles who wanted to be involved in podcasting and let them do it--they'd make the time to podcast.

Any readers know of libraries podcasting? Let us know!

Addendum at noon: I deleted this sentence "Like iTunes, the cost is 99 cents. Yep, people are paying for these little bits of atomized content." because an astute commenter asked why I thought there was a cost. Incomplete ferreting, Chad. I hovered over the images on the directory page and saw "99 cents" so made the incorrect leap that there was a cost. Thanks for pointing that out.

And I had a thought...I wonder if reading a published story as a podcast would violate copyright? Perhaps, as it is a public performance. Anyone know?


David said...

We've been podcasting at the Decatur Campus of Georgia Perimeter College since February. We started out doing the casts around every 2 weeks or so on our regular library blog. But now we are doing a longer monthly-ish show with CC licensed music between the segments. This podcast is called Listen Up! and has its own blog. We talk about library news, events, book recommendations etc.

It is a little time consuming to produce podcasts, but it is a great way to make content available in a new and different way. I like doing the longer format but short - 5 minute or whatever - weekly-ish casts would be a great way to get your message out too. Podcasting isn't the right tool for every library in every situation but it is definitely worth pondering. There's probably someone in most libraries who has an interest in audio or has done time as a DJ on college or community radio. Tapping into these skills could be a great way to market your library!

Anonymous said...

The Thomas Ford Memorial Library has Teen Audio Reviews on its website. Since the site it blog-based, the posts are podcasts by default.

This is in beta (i.e. not available from the TFML website anywhere). Subscribe to the TFML Teen Audio Review RSS feed and something will pop up one of these days.

here's a blurb on about it