By Ben Bromley and Amy Schindler
A podcast is a digital audio program that is made available online and that can be played on an mp3 player. For example, radio shows and other similar programs are often distributed as podcasts as well as over the air.
The first step, however, is the record your audio. To do so, you will need a microphone and a program that can record audio. A good cross platform tool to record audio is the open source program Audacity. When you download the program, make sure to download the LAME MP3 Encoder, as that will allow you to save the files as mp3s. Once the program is installed, plug in your microphone and open Audacity. Simply click on the red “Record” button and begin talking into the microphone. When you are done, hit the yellow “Stop” button to stop recording. To save the file in the mp3 format, go to File->Export. There you will be allowed to assign metadata to your file; after you do that, it will ask you where and in what format you wish to save your file. Mp3 is the recommended format because it is widely supported across all media players and computers.
If you are using Windows, you can use the “Sound Recorder” utility, which is one of the easiest ways to record audio. If you are using Windows 7 or Vista, it can be found by going to the start menu and searching for “Sound Recorder.” On Windows XP, it can be found by going to Start->Programs->Accessories->Entertainment->Sound Recorder. With this program, simply hook up your microphone and hit “Start Recording.” When finished, hit “Stop Recording;” the program will then ask you where you want to save your file. However, this programs saves in WMA format; this format will most likely work but you may wish to convert it to mp3 in order to ensure that everyone can listen to it.
If you want to create a vodcast, you will need a webcam; they often have built in microphones, but you will want to check your specific model to make sure. There are many video recording software options out there, but the easiest are Windows Live Movie Maker for Windows 7 and Vista, Photo Booth program for Macs, and the Cheese Webcam Booth for Linux. Windows Live Movie Maker is a part of the free download “Windows Live Essentials.”
Once you have your audio or video file, you need someplace to put it. The easiest way to publish your podcast is probably through a blog, such as WordPress or Blogger. If you already have a blog for your institution, you can podcast using that blog. All you have to do is write a post, like any other, and attach a video or audio file to it. In WordPress, this feature is built in; above the text box on the “Add New Post” screen there is a place upload/insert media files. If you are using Blogger, you must first go to Settings->Formatting and change “Show Link fields” to “Yes.” When you go to write a post, click on “Add enclosure link,” enter the link to where your file is stored (it must be stored on a publicly accessible webserver), and then put “audio/mpeg” in the “MIME type” field (assuming you are using mp3s). If you are using a video format, look up the MIME type.
When the media is added, write the post that goes along with the media, and then publish your post. The post will instantly be available to anyone following you blog feed; however, anyone can put the same RSS feed address for your blog into their podcatching software (such as iTunes) and then each podcast will be instantly delivered to them as well. Even if you post non-podcast posts on that feed, podcatching software is smart enough to tell the difference.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You have created your own podcast.
- Create a video or audio file using the tools mentioned above. Something like a 3-5 minute introduction to yourself and your repository would be appropriate.
- Post this file to your blog for all the world to share!
- Comment on the process of creating a podcast.
- What were the easiest parts?
- What were the most difficult parts?
- Do you think this is something that you could find time to do on a regular (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) basis?
- “How to Create Your Own Podcast: A Step-by-Step Tutorial,” from About.com.
- Blogger podcasting information.
- WordPress podcasting information.
- EDUCAUSE article on “7 Things You Should Know About Podcasting.”
- The Interactive Archivist article on “Podcasts and Downloadable Video.”
- The Interactive Archivist case study on “Archives to Earbuds: Podcasting Digital Collections at the Kansas Historical Society,” by Michael A. Church.