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October 26, 2011

Thing 5: Podcasts, videocasts and iTunes U: subscribing to multi–media content.

Lots of people have listened to or watched a podcast recording, but subscribing to a regular output is a different “thing”! So, Thing 5 asks you to subscribe to a podcast: there are plenty of scholarly podcast sources available. You can do this using your podcast “catching” or aggregating tool of choice, but instructions are provided for you to use iTunes.

itunes podcast logo

What is a podcast?
Put simply, a podcast is a regular digital media publication which folks can subscribe to using podcast subscription tools on their computers or other mobile devices. However, there are more technical definitions of what is and is not a podcast, and you can read more about this on Wikipedia if you are interested.

Read more about Podcasts on iTunes.

And a videocast?
Podcasts were originally mostly audio content, although many podcasts are videos these days, and ‘videocast’ is just another word used to describe a video podcast: a variety of terminology exists! The word ‘podcast’ is a term which is also sometimes used to describe ordinary online audio or video content which does not have a subscription element, although this is not a strictly correct use of the term.

How do I do this “Thing”?
iTunes is software that needs to be downloaded, to both manage and play podcast material, and I have chosen it for this course because of the wealth of high quality material available on iTunes U which cannot all be discovered or played on the open web. Follow the step by step instructions, or read below about some alternatives.

Places to find podcasts:
As an alternative to iTunes U, AcademicEarth also has a lot of University video materials available for download and subscription. There are plenty of other podcast sources available, including:
Nature
BMJ
BBC
podcastdirectory.com

Tools to manage podcast subscriptions:
If you’re not using iTunes to manage your podcast subscriptions, you can use Google Reader for, eg Nature’s podcasts: on the Nature site there is a podcast icon which looks like the classic RSS feed icon, and clicking on this will take your through similar menus to the RSS feed subscription described in Thing 3.

Another alternative way for you to subscribe to podcasts is through a smart phone, and the Google Listen app is one which you might like to explore, as a way of managing your podcast subscriptions on your phone.

I wanna get involved: I have lots to say!
This course doesn’t cover podcast creation but if you are keen on podcasts and want to start to create your own, then I recommend starting with the Apple instructions at: http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html

Explore a little further: Digital media in Arts and Humanities research

Arts and Humanities scholars using or planning to use digital media in their research might be interested in the advice of Stephen Gray, University of Bristol who appears in this video on Cambridge University’s website: http://www.sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1123465


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