#22 Discover some useful search tools for locating podcasts

This week we’ll be spending time with one of my addictions: podcasts (since you asked, the others are running and ice cream). We’ll learn what they are, how to find them, and how libraries are using them.

In 2005, “podcast” was named the “word of the year” by New Oxford American Dictionary. The term “podcast” was formed from the words “iPod” and “broadcast” and refers to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. You don’t need an iPod to listen to a podcast – any computer or MP3 player will do. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS – interested listeners or watchers can receive updates through RSS when new content is posted.

Podcasts take many forms. They can be brief (just a few minutes) or considerably longer (interviews, panel discussions, radio shows, etc). They can be slickly produced radio broadcasts or home-grown recordings. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest.

According to a recent report on eMarketer, it’s estimated the total US podcast audience reached 18.5 million in 2007, and by the year 2009 that number will double.

There are some easy ways to find podcasts, one of which is to check out your favorite web sites to see if they have podcasts available. But you can also check out sites that gather podcasts by topic or genre, so you can easily find podcasts that match your interests.

Once you find a podcast to which you’d like to subscribe, just look for a “subscribe” button or link. Copy the feed URL into your RSS feed reader like you did in Week 4 and you’re good to go. If you’re an iTunes user, simply click on the “subscribe” button and you’re all set. You’ll see the podcast added to the Podcasts section of your iTunes.

Many libraries have started using podcasts to syndicate their programming or to share other info like book or movie reviews. Here are some examples:

There’s really no end to how you could use podcasts in a library. You could record booktalks, book discussions, author readings, oral histories, or stories for kids and post them online. If you combine them with a blog, participants can participate in discussions about them.

When creating your own podcasts, copyright issues need to be considered. To read books for a storytime podcast the books must be in the public domain or you must receive permission from the publisher to do so. If you mix in music it must be in the public domain. The good news is that there are sites like CCMixter and Podsafe Music Network that provide music you can use in your podcasts.


Common Craft has a video:

To find out more about podcasts:

Podcast directories and finding tools:

Library-related podcasts which you might find interesting:

To learn about creating podcasts:


  1. Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed above and see if you can find a podcast that interests you; perhaps a library-related podcast such as a book review podcast, or library news.
  2. Add the RSS feed for the podcast (if it has one) to your feedreader. (If you can’t find a feed to add, try the one from SirsiDynix Institute. SirsiDynix Institute provides free web seminars. Many are related to Web 2.0.)
  3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here? How are libraries using podcasts? How might your library use podcasts?

OPTIONAL: What? You want to create a podcaste, too? You can easily do it with a microphone and some free software. See the resources above.
Blog about this experience. If you feel really ambitious, add an audio post about your experience to your blog. If you use Gabcast, the FAQ has instructions on adding podcasts to Blogger and WordPress. If you use other methods and Blogger, see eHow tutorial on how to publish podcasts.

5 responses to “

  1. The link for Webmonkey’s All the World’s a Podcast tutorial no longer works. They have moved /restructured their website and we know what fun that makes it to find things in their new home!

  2. Hey, Common Craft has a Podcasting in Plain English video now! http://www.commoncraft.com/shows/podcasting

  3. Thanks Cheryl,
    I’ve deleted the WebMonkey link. And added the Common Craft video to the resources. I hope you enjoy the next Thing.

  4. Hi Mara – The Common Craft link is broken.

  5. I use pod casts all the time for book reviews from school library journal. They are very helpful.

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