Saturday, May 5, 2007

Blogging and Podcasting for Everyone

This three-hour session was presented by Michael Shochet and Andrea Bartelstein.

Michael Shochet is the Systems/Reference Librarian at the Langsdale Library at University of Baltimore. His portion of this seminar presented the benefits and some basic how-tos of blogging. Blogging is easy, and I think that after hearing his talk, anyone would agree with that idea.

Shocut provided a list of resources both within his lecture and as a handout. Here is an even more up-to-date list of blogging resources. One of the many valuable ideas that Mr. Shochet expressed was how easy it really is to keep abreast of the blogs that you read by using an RSS reader and subscribing to the blogs. This elimiates the need to navigate to all of "your" blogs by placing all of the new content from the blogs you like to read in one place. You simply need to subscribe to a blog, and when you have the time, you can read everything that is new, mark those articles as read, and get on with your life. No more hunting around and guessing. I've been using an RSS reader that seems not to work - I'm excited about trying one of the ones that Mr. Shochet recommended, and getting more efficient at blog-reading. Also - I'm totally sold on tagging - you get to be your own personal cataloger of your own content.
Andrea Bartelstein is currently the Instructional Services Coordinator and Librarian for Education and Counseling at the Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University. She has recently relocated (Vermont, I believe), and is a telecommuter for the moment while JHU is replacing her. Ms. Bartelstein came all the way back to Maryland to share her podcasting project with us!

Podcasting is when an audio or visual file is produced and presented via the Internet, which can be downloaded to a computer or portable device, and viewed at will by the end user. Ms. Bartelstein defines podcasting further as something that is done on an episodic basis (regularly presented at intervals, rather than a one-time event)

Podcasts can be subscribed to just as easily as blogs. There are many possible applications for podcasting technology. Several ideas for how to use podcasting were suggested unit of library instruction, or a tour of a library museum. Some museums now actually provide podcasts of tours that can be downloaded to one's MP3 player, and used later in the museum, rather than forcing visitors to rent one of those little recorders, or strain their ears to hear the docent.

Podcasting is really easy. Ms. Bartelstein explained exactly how she did it for her project, and it turns out to be far easier than I expected. This is because there are special codes that are used in blogs or as part of regular html that do a lot of the work for you. Here is a page of the Sheridan Libraries Podcasts.

A list of resources was also provided for podcasting. Also, please click here for more information: Podcasting - Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki.

Here is a podcast file - one participant's comments after attending this session - which I borrowed from the MLA Conference Wiki:


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