Podcasting

Podcasting is a not so new, but relatively underused, form of media that allows people to share information via audio or video files. For historians, podcasting is a way to share research and academic lectures with a much wider audience than the average classroom of twenty to thirty students. For larger institutions, such as museums, podcasting may engage people from across the world who would otherwise never be able to physically visit the museum and go through a tour. By definition, a podcast is a series of digital media files which are presented episodically just like shows on the television or the radio. In this case, people are able to download these episodes to a computer or an mp3 player.
For the researcher or history teacher, podcasting is a way of presenting information in a way that is easily accessible and understood by the general public. It may generate greater interest in your topic, and the more subscribers that a project gets for a particular series of podcasts, then the more likely it is that the project will be granted more funding by a sponsoring institution. Many larger institutions already employ podcasting through websites in order to draw more people into current projects or exhibitions. For example, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has podcasts available to patrons through an RSS feed, or web feed, for the podcast. It is possible for people to listen to the tours of the museum from home on their computer while looking through the online images of the exhibition. It is also possible for patrons to download the podcasts to their mp3 player so that they may listen to the information while touring the actual museum. Additionally, for a historian or archaeologist in the field, podcasting also provides a way of communicating details from an ongoing project as a series of updates which sponsors and students at home may tune-in to in order to stay informed of new and significant discoveries. While the majority of people outside of a particular project will probably never take the time to read a long analytic essay about a historical project, the highlights which would generate interest from the general public may be captured in a podcast.

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