Friday, February 22, 2008

Project Play: podcasting for libraries

This week was an interesting assignment. I already subscribe to a number of podcasts, getting some, such as the Onion and weekly sermons from my church, on my iPod. I have RSS feeds for newspaper stories and Chuck Tomasi's Technorama in my Bloglines feed aggregator.

I've been following library podcasts for awhile, by the simple expedient of searching "libraries"in the podcast section of the iTunes store. I can see several potentially worthwhile uses, depending on services of the library and the interests of staff to do the legwork:

  • program information
  • general library news
  • book reviews
  • as a technology learning opportunity for teens
Not all of these are for everyone, and podcasting is not for everyone. But it's certainly easy to do. Gabcast makes it a snap, but for this exercise I decided to try something I've been putting off: I downloaded and installed Audacity, a very nice freeware sound editing program.

Audacity made it pretty simple to add a musical intro, record a narrative, edit out a couple of "um, ah"s, and mix the whole thing to an .mp3 file. A quick Youtube search found a lot of Audacity and podcasting tutorials, but the Audacity documentation is pretty good on its own. I then signed up for a free account at Podbean and posted my podcast. Podbean also allows for making podcasts available as RSS feeds or through iTunes.

This is probably not something I will do on a regular basis, but it's nice to find out how easy it is. Thanks to Ellen Jepson for the info about Audacity and Podbean.

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