Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Week 11 - Podcasts and Audio Files
This week is about podcasts and audio files. If you’ve just gotten an iPod and want to fully utilize it, this is the week! Even if you don’t, there is no need to worry, you can easily listen to an audio book or a podcast using an mp3 player or any computer.
The word "Podcast" was named the "word of the year" in 2005 by New Oxford American Dictionary and there have been amazing growth over the past few years. So, what is a podcast?
Think about “Podcast = MP3 + RSS”, it is like a radio program except you can download it to a portable device and listen to it at your convenience. Podcasts can have only sound or sound and video. A video podcast is sometimes called a vidcast.
Many libraries and educational institutions embraced podcasts too. By archiving tutorials for training sessions online, it saves time without repeating work and provides 24/7 accessible content for library clients and patrons. Examples of podcast sites are:
Denver Public Library
You must be tempted by now and anxious to know the next steps. This is how you can get started:
Step1: Download iTunes
You can always download each individual media file by right-click -Save Link As (Mozilla Firefox) or Save Target As (Internet Explorer) to your computer or USB drive. However, this week we are going to try a new way of doing it. It will be a onetime setup and make your life much easier in the future.
To receive all of the new episodes automatically, you will need podcast software, also called podcatcher or podcast receiver/aggregator. The most popular one is iTunes. Click the following link to download and install it to your desktop:
iTunes (Windows/Mac OS X)
There are also a number of other freely available options (optional) if you are interested:
Juice (Windows/Mac OS X)
The Odeo Player (Mac OS X)
Podnova (Windows 2000/XP, Mac OS 10.3+, GNU/Linux)
Step 2 Subscribe to RSS
Assume you have installed iTunes on your computer. Open iTunes, on the top menu, select Advanced, choose Subscribe to Podcast from the drop-down menu. In the dialogue box enter the podcast RSS feed URL. For example: http://sirsidynixinstitute.com/podcast.xml
Once you've subscribed, select Podcasts on the left sidebar. You will see all subscribed podcasts listed. By default, the newest program should download automatically. You can specify where the files will be stored on your computer by going to Edit > Preferences and selecting the Advanced tab.
To listen to your file, double-click on the episode title. You can play, pause or fast-forward like a normal media player. iTunes will check for new episodes every time you open the player (or more frequently, if you set the preferences accordingly), making sure you always get the freshest content as soon as it is available.
If you have an iPod, the next time you plug it in your computer, all your podcasts will be automatically synchronized between it and the computer.
Step 3: More Exercises:
(1) Listen to a podcast
Go to : http://www.hup.harvard.edu/audio/
Click “Listen to the Interview”, you can listen to it online directly
(2) On the above page, find the RSS Feed URL, and subscribe to it using iTunes
(Advanced- Subscribe to Podcast).
(3) Listen to an audio book
Go to the Librivox Catalog, search for an audio book and listen to it.
e.g. Click here for a list of audio books
Last but not least, please don’t forget to mention in your blog that you have completed this week’s exercises!