Tuesday, 19 April 2011

P is for Podcasts

I don’t know about you, but I’m new to podcasts. Have you tried them yet? After attending a BIFHSGO meeting a few months back on podcasts, I took the plunge.

A podcast is like an on-demand radio show. Podcast producers typically have a weekly or monthly schedule and, on their websites, they publish program notes and a downloadable sound file of the show. Most shows last about 45 minutes to one hour. Often, they include interviews. You can listen to the show from your computer or copy it onto your MP3 player. You can also subscribe to a favourite podcast to receive it automatically.  And they're generally free.

I'll be honest with you, it took me a while to figure out how to subscribe and how to access what I'd subscribed to. There are some options. I'll just tell you how I got it to work.

I loaded iTunes on my computer. From the iTunes Store, I searched the available podcasts by keyword (try genealogy and family history). Then I selected the ones to which I wanted to subscribe. Now, each time I open iTunes, it automatically downloads the newest podcasts onto my computer. iTunes also shows me past podcasts from a particular series and I can click the "Get" button to manually download ones of interest.  That was the straightforward part.  I had trouble figuring out where iTunes was putting my podcasts. Eventually, I found them saved in My Libraries\Music\iTunes\iTunesMedia\Podcasts. From there I could easily copy them to the MP3 player. I found this article on Ancestry that provides information on podcasts, including how to listen to them and how to make them.

There are several worthwhile genealogy podcasts to consider. You can find genealogy podcasts on Cyndi's List or simply by Googling "genealogy podcast." Here's a little bit about the podcasts I enjoy:

The Genealogy Guys Podcast is generally posted once or twice a month  Drew and George report on newly available genealogical collections and genealogy news.

Family Tree Magazine's Podcast is a monthly podcast hosted by Lisa Louise Cooke which "takes you behind the scenes to learn more about the topics covered in the magazine.  Lisa has two other podcasts.  Genealogy Gems episodes are available twice a month and cover a variety of topics such as new sources of information and new technologies.  She no longer appears to be producing Family History: Genealogy made Easy, which was targeted to new genealogists, but the old episodes, up to the Fall of 2009 are available from iTunes.

I would also recommend you check out the Irish Roots Café, which has several podcast series offered through its Hedge Row School.  I like the "Hello Fada" series of short introductions to the Irish language. If you want three ways to say how are you as well as how to answer, Hello Fada is for you. The podcast "Counting up" reminded me of my dad teaching me to count to 10 in Irish when I was a kid.  The Hedge Row School also offers podcasts on "Irish Family History."  Each episode features particular surnames and locations.  This one is offered in two versions:  plain audio and photo enhanced.  You can also find "Irish Songs and Recitation," "Irish in America" and "Irish History."

I hope you'll try some of these out.  They are fantastic resources both for the beginner and experienced genealogists.  Some days, I wish my bus ride was longer, so I could listen to more of them!

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