Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WLA 2007: Podcasting as a Library Tool

This session was presented by Keith Schroeder, Library Media Specialist for the Howard-Suamico School District. He has collected a wealth of links to sites about podcasting, including the PowerPoint from his presentation, so be sure to take a look at that, too.

What is a podcast? The speaker shared some basic podcast features:
  • content - audio or video - created for an audience to listen to how and when they want
  • multimedia files that are distributed over the Internet
  • files that can be played on a computer or a portable device
  • files that are distributed through an RSS feed
  • podcasts are compatible for Mac or PC users
Why should we use podcasts?
  • library news updates
  • content learning
  • distance learning
  • interviewing
  • self-paced learning
  • lectures and teaching - playback
He shared several model library sites. Be sure to take a look at these sites, because these libraries are doing really cool things!
Schroeder highlighted the need to educate staff and/or students about safety:
Copyright issues also need to be considered. What is acceptable to use? Ask for permission to know for sure. See also: EFF Bloggers' FAQ. A good question came up: If we want to do podcasts of a storytime session, aren't there copyright issues to consider? Shroeder has had good luck contacting publishers for permission to record readings of books and recommends trying that. Nothing lost, nothing gained!

Equipment needed to create a podcast:
  • good microphone
  • computer
  • editing software - Schroeder recommends using Audacity, a free audio recorder and editor available online at (Mac users can use Garageband, which is also very nice.)
  • music (see
  • recordable mp3 player/digital voice recorder
  • online services to host your podcast - a blog (Schroeder likes Podomatic.)
How to make a podcast:
  • record an audio file
  • edit your audio and add music if you wish (see
  • convert the file to an mp3 format
  • upload the file to a web server
  • create an RSS feed (FeedBurner, for example)
  • listen to and share your podcast
Schroeder gave a demo of Audacity that truly proved how easy it is to use - made me want to download it right away and give it a go myself! There are tutorials available for Audacity if you want to learn more about how to use it.

This was a practical, how-to session - the speaker did a good job of showing how easy podcasts are to create. I would have liked more time to explore some of the library sites to see what's out there and get ideas for what to do, but it's easy enough to do that later, and it's no fault of the presenter that the wireless Internet connection was being problematic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great use of Podcasting. I need to fill in a blank. You say create an RSS feed via feedburner. Feedburner masks your original RSS feed (typically generated through a wordpress blog). Also Podomatic while free is very hard to leave if you deicde to move to a different host later. I recommend Libsyn or even btter combine libsyn (for your media) and for your blog hosting. I love finding different applications of podcasting.

Dave Jackson
Personal Podcast Coach