I don't know how many of you out there are familiar with what's called "podcasting". I, for one, didn't know about it until last year and it's been around since 2001. In the time between my introduction to podcasting and now, I'v become addicted! Give me a second to share with you a few things about podcasting that make it so great.
One: "POD" stands for "Personal On Demand". This has nothing to do with the iPod. It has everything to do with the ability of the user to download and watch, listen, or read the content of their choice. This allows me to go to my favorite podcasted sites like RocketBoom (RocketBoom, yea!) and download that one episode about the illegal surveillance carried out by the NYPD on protestors of the Republican National Convention.
Two: I can automatically download new content as it is posted. This is what's referred to as a feed. Don't ask me how this works. All I know is when I click subscribe I get a new episode of TikiBar TV right when it comes out. (Mmmm ... Lala!) It involves a podcatcher like iTunes or Democracy and an RSS document (stands for "Really Simple Syndicate") or an XML file. Beyond that I leave it to The IT Crowd (great British comedy).
Three: I can search video and audio content using certain search engines tailored specifically for this function. Everyzing (originally Podzinger) will, instead of searching text on a website, use voice recognition technology to search audio and video footage for the terms you define. Now this can be a bit sketchy, just like a Catalog search. You have to tailor your search as you would any other. Everyzing searches only select feeds and not all podcasted content out there on the Web. For example, I tried searching Republican National Convention and Bikes Against Bush, but to no avail. The episode of RocketBoom I was searching for did not show up. Lucky me, I know how nice the people at RocketBoom are. One e-mail later and I've got the episode I was looking for.
So, try out podcasting if you haven't already. If you have, I hope I've shared with you some of the things that have made my podcast experience so great. And if you know anything out there that I might have overlooked, please, post it here. Cheers and happy podcasting!
Laura Gordon-Murnane (2005, June). Saying "I Do" to Podcasting. Searcher, 13(6), 44-51.
Celeste Biever (2005, February). And now for the podcast... New Scientist, 185(2486), 24.