Open Stacks offers what may be the first library-related podcast! In honor of the occasion, I thought this would be a good opportunity to briefly discuss podcasts, so if you're unfamiliar with the term, or think that they somehow relate to a popular, but hokey, 50's horror film, I recommend that you read on.
You all know how an RSS feed works. Podcasting is a similar concept, but instead of distributing text, podcasts distribute audio recordings via what is essentially a RSS feed for audio files. Blogs allow anyone to be a publisher. Podcasts allow anyone to be a broadcaster.
These audio files are in MP3 format, and can be played on your computer, any MP3 player, or, wait for it....your iPod! You don't need an iPod to listen to podcasts, but, if you are lucky enough to have one, you can choose to have certain podcasts automatically downloaded to your iPod using a tool called iPodder. Think of it as TIVO for radio.
As more radio broadcasts become available via podcasting, you could, in theory, listen to your favorite radio show, let's just say, "All Things Considered", whenever you had a chance, not necessarily at the time of broadcast. Mind you, "All Things Considered" doesn't have a podcast yet, but Future Tense, another NPR show, DOES have one, and hopefully the idea will spread rapidly.
There's definite potential here. As with blogs, podcasting on niche topics could develop quite a following. How about a podcast of a series programs for MCLE credit? Or a library podcast on new sources or research techniques? If we packaged our information in a cool format, could we get more people to pay attention?
Okay, so podcasting may not change your life, but it's a trend that's likely to progress quickly, and I since I consider it my mission to let you know about such things, consider yourself informed!
For more information see Personal Radio Via Podcasting Grows More Popular.