The information on this page needs updating.
A podcast is a file that has been made available on the web which can automatically be downloaded to a software player, such as Apple's iTunes, and then perhaps moved to a portable device such as an MP3 player. You might use a podcast to record a talk, to record an interview with a visitor, to record supporting material for a lecture, ... .
The term podcast was derived in 2004 from the words iPod and broadcast, but you do not have to have an iPod to listen/watch these files. Anyone with appropriate software on a computer will be able to listen/watch a podcast. And, if the file is an MP3 file, you could copy the file to an MP3 player.
If you have iTunes, you can use iTunes to convert the recording to the MP3 format. iTunes is available for Mac OS X and Windows.
Instead, you may want to consider using Audacity. This is an audio editor and recorder that is available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. It can be used to make recordings, edit an existing recording (e.g., to remove any unwanted sections at the start and the end), or to convert a recording to MP3. There is more information about converting to MP3 in the article Saving MP3 Files for Podcasts.
- If you have a web server in your
department/college, you may already have space on
this web server and know how to upload files to
it. In order for people to be able to receive your
podcast, it is important for this web server to be
visible through the University's filewall. By this
means you have published the recording on the web
and it is available through some URL like
You could upload your podcast to a public folder within a WebLearn site in which you have the 'maintain' role. If you do not have a suitable WebLearn site then ask your local WebLearn coordinator to create one for you; please see the list of coordinators.
If you already have a suitable WebLearn site (in which you have the 'maintain' role), then log into WebLearn (http://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/) and create a public folder within the Resources tool in your site and upload your podcasts into it. (Details of how to create a public folder and upload files can be found in this step-by-step guide: https://weblearn.ox.ac.uk/access/content/group/info/step/resources11.pdf)
- Or you could store the file on the web server
users.ox.ac.uk. There are details about this web
server at /web/personalwebpages/personalguide.xml. In
particular, there is a section about uploading a file to users.ox.ac.uk. By
doing this you will have published the recording on the
web and it will be available at a URL like
http://users.ox.ac.uk/~abcd0123/example.mp3(this URL will be used as an example throughout the rest of the document).
You can do this using OXITEMS, the University of Oxford's newsfeed system. It provides several kinds of newsfeeds: there are ordinary newsfeeds for items of news, events newsfeeds for storing details about events, and podcasting newsfeeds for storing details about a collection of podcasts.
In each department/college, there are IT Support Staff. The main ITSS person has been made an OXITEMS administrator. He/she can create a podcasting newsfeed. If you have difficulty in tracking down who this is, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
- First, login to OXITEMS at https://rss.oucs.ox.ac.uk/oxonly/oxitems/
- Then use the Add a media item operation that is given in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
- The administrator will have given the
newsfeed some appropriate name such as
running/sandbox-audio. So, on the new screen, select the appropriate newsfeed, e.g.,
- Then use the button labelled add an item to the selected newsfeed.
- On the new screen, type something appropriate to identify the podcast in the Title and Summary boxes.
- In the box labelled Presenter(s), type the details of the people who gave the presentation in the podcast.
- In the box labelled Media file,
type in the URL of your podcast, e.g.,
- It is important that you have the right to make the recording public. Click the Media rights to confirm that you have the appropriate permissions.
- Finally, if you wish, type some categories in the Simple categories box. With some applications that access newsfeeds, a user can categories to search for items. An example is iTunes.
- Then use the button labelled preview the item with the above values.
- And, on the next screen, use the button labelled now add the above item to the newsfeed.
And that's it. An RSS 2.0 version of your newsfeed is now
available at a URL like
running/sandbox-audio is replaced by the
name of your newsfeed.
If you want to add other podcasts to this newsfeed, just repeat the above process: go to OXITEMS and select the Add a media item operation.
You will need some podcasting software (such as iTunes) in order to receive a podcast. There is a list of podcasting software at http://www.podcastingnews.com/topics/Podcast_Software.html
Having installed the podcasting software, you just have to tell
it the URL of the newsfeed. It has to be an RSS 2.0
newsfeed. When using OXITEMS, this is a URL like http://rss.oucs.ox.ac.uk/running/sandbox-audio/rss20.xml where
running/sandbox-audio is replaced by
the name of your newsfeed.
- Two page factsheet about using OXITEMS for delivering news, events and podcasts
- Wikipedia: Podcast
- BBC Podcasts & Downloads
- Apple: iTunes Store: Podcasts
- BBC News: Technology: Wordsmiths hail podcast success
- LTG Newsletter: Michaelmas 2006: Web 2.0: RSS, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasting, Social Networks, and Image-sharing (Peter Robinson)