Saturday, May 24, 2008

Casting about for podcasts

I started off this section of Discover 2.0 by trying to search the first of the recommended directories, But I got an error message saying the server wasn't found or I'd typed the address in wrong (I'd clicked the FVRL 2.0 link and then tried typing the URL in manually, but whatever). So on to the next site, I got a bit luckier with this one, seeing as how the link took me to a real website. So I tried searching for "Nancy Pearl," thinking that if we had to find library-themed podcasts, her interviews might be a good place to start. Trouble was, the results page was an unhelpful list of seemingly unrelated podcasts. I tried a few other searches and eventually located a series of podcasts that were more or less related to one of my searches (the parts I listened to were boring, but that's not the site's fault). The search feature is NOT useful, in my opinion. Or if it is, then it's just not intuitive.

I got a little bit lucky and saw that one of the newest 5 podcasts on the site at that time was a library-related one from Lincoln City Libraries in Nebraska, so I was able to listen to a very interesting 3-book booktalk/book review session. Kind of like a much longer version of our One Minute Critic videos, only just with audio. However, after I'd navigated away and then wanted to return, I was unable to figure out the proper search terms that would locate the Lincoln City podcasts again. Aggravating! So I'm not impressed with PodcastAlley.

The third podcast directory is the Yahoo! Audio Search. Looks easy to use, but all I was able to locate on purpose was one of Sam's early One Minute Critic reviews--audio only. An interesting review, to be sure, but overall I wasn't thrilled to get so many random search results and have 99% of them look like they were songs, not podcasts. And only samples/snippets at that.

Frankly, if I'm searching for a podcast, I'm much much more likely to go directly to a website I like and search for their podcasts. For example: & Bill Harris' blog posts on audio, or NPR's podcast page. So far, I much prefer this method to searching one of the directories (with the possible exception of iTunes, which I haven't tried because I believe we have to be able to download it, which we can't to our work computers). I think going to a known site and listening to podcasts I find there much more useful in general. Then again, I'm not one of those people who spends hours every day aimlessly browsing the web to see what I can find.

NOTE: When I Googled "podcasts," the 6th or 7th link listed was for has a new address?? has grouped the podcasts into folders, which I find useful, but some of them require iTunes to listen to them, which is not so useful here at work.

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