Three podcasts to get you thinking

Post by: Hugh

In the last year I’ve come to appreciate podcasts. A podcast is simply a regular audio file that is distributed online using RSS. It can be thought of as an on-demand radio show, or an audio blog.

You can subscribe to a podcast in a number of ways, but the most common is to use iTunes to subscribe to the podcast feed. If you do this using a Mac or a Windows PC, you can then transfer the audio files to an MP3 player like an iPod. or one of the many other brands. If you have an iPhone, iPad (or indeed, an iPod), you can subscribe to the feed through Apple’s ‘Podcasts’ app and have them downloaded directly to your device over wifi or 3G internet. The Android marketplace is more fractured by its nature, but there are many apps which do the same job as Apple’s “Podcasts” app. You can read about some of them here.

Now that you’ve got the technicalities out of the way, what should you subscribe to? Here are three of my favourites at the moment:

Library Chat

Library Chat is created/hosted by Corin Haynes in his spare time and does what it says on the tin – Corin chats to librarians about libraries. Corin is Manager Digital Services for Auckland Libraries, and is currently also LIANZA President Elect. Corin has met lots of really interesting librarians over his years attending conferences and joining committees, and he is now capitalising on that by inviting them on to his show. I particularly liked the episodes with Sue Roberts (ep 3), Carson Block (ep 5) and Mal Booth (ep 8).

Download this show

Download this show is an ABC Radio National show broadcast at 9pm on Sundays and Thursdays at 2.30pm, but who’s listening to the radio at that time? Not me, that’s for sure. Luckily RN podcasts nearly all their programs, so you can literally download this show. Host Marc Fennell goes through the week in “technology, social media, consumer electronics digital culture and more” with two guests. I like this show because it balances the latest news items (eg the NSA’s PRISM spying program) with in-depth reporting (such as a story on major security lapses in ‘the internet of things’ including a French dam that could potentially and quite easily have its sluice gates opened by ….anyone). I also like that the ABC seems to be making a conscious effort to provide balance in Marc’s choice of guests – in an area often dominating by men’s voices, there is always at least one woman on the panel, and often two.

Circulating ideas

Circulating ideas is hosted by Steve Thomas, a public librarian from Atlanta. It’s like an American version of Library Chat, except that Circulating Ideas has been around for much longer… New episodes appear somewhat haphazardly (again simliar to Library Chat), but roughly every three weeks.

So those are my favourite podcasts for learning about libraries and the world of information – what are yours? Share them in the comments!

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