Guide to Podcasting
The word Podcast is a combination of the words iPod and broadcast; it is similar to radio broadcasting, only via the web. Basically, an audio file (usually mp3) or video file (usually MPEG) is made available on the web for direct download to programs such as iTunes. Once a Podcast is created, each time a new file becomes available, it is 'podcasted' to the user's computer and automatically downloaded to the software they have designated to receive the Podcasts. Here is a list of Podcasting clients you can use to receive Podcasts, and here is a list of Podcasting software for creating Podcasts. For a simple process to create a Podcast, see 'How to create a Podcast' below.
A Podcast is actually a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) file containing information about the location of a media file and its contents on the web. This RSS file contains information such as title, description, author, date of publication, the location of the audio (or video) file and its file type (mp3, MPEG, etc.) These files are similar to RSS news feeds and in fact use the file extension .rss. There are two steps to creating a Podcast: 1. Record the audio. 2. Create the RSS file to point people to the audio. That's it! See below for step-by-step instructions.
How to create a Podcast
Please note: if you are creating a Podcast for a Review, you only need to use one of the methods under 1 below to record your audio and submit the .mp3 file. We will create the .rss file.
1. Record audio using one of these three methods
Method 1 - Skype (Preferred method)
a. Have a Skype account? (Get one free at skype.com)
b. Chris Mavergames, manager of the Cochrane Collaboration Webteam can record you via a Skype call. Contact Chris for more info: email@example.com or Skype name: c.mavergames
Method 2 - Audacity
a. Download Audacity, a free audio editing tool, here.
b. Open Audacity. Looks like this:
c. Make sure you have a microphone plugged into your computer or, if you are patching into a soundboard or mixer in a conference room, you can use a cable like this to get a feed into the microphone jack on a laptop. Press the red record button and begin speaking to test the sound levels. You will see the sound meter at the top light up, confirming that your signal is being captured and you will see a waveform appearing (as below).. When finished, press the yellow stop button. You will now 'see' your recording as a waveform like this:
d. Press the green play button to hear your recording. You can make adjustments to your recording using the filters under the 'effects' menu (amplify, normalize,etc.). See the Audacity 'Help' menu for more details.
e. When you are satisfied with your recording, export it as an mp3 file. Go to File >> Export as mp3. Save the file to the directory you wish on your site (eg., cochrane.org/myfirstpodcast.mp3).
f. PLEASE NOTE! Audacity requires a subsidiary file in order to export to .mp3. This file is called the LAME MP3 Encoder and can be found here.
2. Create RSS file (NOT NECESSARY FOR REVIEW AUTHORS CREATING AUDIO SUMMARY PODCASTS!)
a. Here is a free online Podcast generator - a simple form that will output the RSS data you need to create your Podcast file. Looks like this:
b. Simply fill out the form as above. The Blog/Website information (first three elements) will usually not change. The 'Enclosure' refers to the audio file you recorded - this information will always change as this is the information about the specific media file you have just created. To obtain the file size, right-click on the audio file in Windows Explorer and select properities and then copy the file size, deleting any commas (1,234,567 > 1234567).
c. After clicking the 'Create RSS 2.0..' button, you will see this:
Copy the text from the upper box into a simple text editor (such as Notepad) and save the file as .rss (eg., myfirstpodcast.rss). This is your RSS file. Users can paste this link into their Podcasting software. For iTunes, it looks like this:
Or you can simply create a direct link to your mp3 file from a page on your site.
d. When you wish to 'podcast' another audio file, simply add another 'enclosure' to the same .rss file:
Notice the second 'item' titled 'My second podcast' - you can add a third, fourth, etc. The new Podcasts will be automatically downloaded to their Podcasting software.
Please send feedback about this guide to Chris Mavergames, firstname.lastname@example.org.