Podcasts, a New Frontier, are All Over the (Dewey) Map

by Sheryl Ramer Gesoff, MLS Director, Health Sciences Library, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Elmhurst Hospital Center


Listening to podcasts should be promoted in the same way that reading books is promoted. Podcasts, like books, have useful content that cannot be found anywhere else.

dewey_mapped.jpgBy leading events and workshops on podcasts as a new frontier for librarians, I’m eager to start a dialogue among librarians and others about sharing their favorite podcasts with patrons, family, and friends, as well as how to make the medium more accessible.

To that end, this article includes a bibliography of podcast episodes organized in the same way that books and journal articles are organized. I hope this list sparks ideas for my colleagues to show patrons that podcasts are diverse and useful.


Sharing podcasts with library users

In my work I've found occassion to explain to library users that podcasts are free audio shows available on-demand. My users are interested to learn that some podcasts are fee-based, including EM:RAP and EmedHome, two emergency medicine podcasts. Other podcasts operate on a freemium model, meaning that some episodes are free or paid for by advertising, but archived episodes or other features cost money. WTF with Marc Maron is an example of the Freemium model.

If you're teaching library users about podcats, check out this in-depth definition and the basics of podcasts here.


Podcasts, books, and journals

Podcasts are a new medium that are, in my view, on par with books and journals. A guide to the Modern Language Association rules refer to podcasts as such, describing possible sources as “web, print or podcasts.”

In addition, podcasts contain content that cannot be found anywhere else, including the radio. Serial, a hugely popular show that investigated the true story of a murder over the course of several weeks, is described as “a weekly podcast, not a radio show at all.” Only the first episode aired on the radio.

Other podcast shows with content that cannot be found anywhere else include News in Slow Latin Spanish, Freakonomics, American Psychological Association’s Speaking of Psychology, You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes, and Circulating Ideas (a library podcast). 

Podcasts also require a range of delivery systems, including on-demand audio available through websites, and applications like iTunes. I love that podcats allow people to listen when their hands are busy but their minds are free. People can listen while they do chores, wait in line, walk the dog, or knit – times when it is inconvenient or impossible to watch television or read a book.

On-demand audio can be compared with Netflix because it gives people the freedom to listen to shows of their choosing whenever or wherever they want. And even with whom they want -- NPR is even hosting listening parties across the country.


A new frontier for librarians

The most exciting thing about podcasts, for me, is that they are a reconizable format in some ways, but a new frontier in others. They have existed for 10 years; in that time, many people began to listen to them.

Participation proves podcasts’ worth, but many people still do not know they exist. They are easy to access after an initial set-up but most people require directions for accessing them. Even after the initial set-up, people have difficulty discovering shows

Librarians help people to locate journals, books, and websites. We can apply the same methods and research we developed for the promotion, teaching, and organization of these mediums to podcasts. We can form podcast clubs, teach classes, design posters, recommend shows with listeners’ advisories, organize with cataloging, and save through archiving.

A few groups are trying to organize podcasts, including player.fm and IPDB. But in a world where “everything can be found on Google,” no company or vendor has succeeded in making podcasts easy to search, or even discovered easily. Creating an orgnization method for podcasts is a relatively blank slate, and librarians can “claim” this.


Works Cited

The bibliography below shows both the breadth of subjects available as podcasts and that episodes can be organized in the same way that journal articles or books are organized -- as Works Cited or the Dewey Decimal System.


000 Generalities

Thomas, Steve, prod. "2015 American Library Association Presidential Candidates." Episode #63. Circulating Ideas. N.p., 23 Mar. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://circulatingideas.com/2015/03/23/episode-63-2015-ala-presidential-candidates/>.

Steve chats with the four candidates for ALA President (2016-2017): Joe Janes, James LaRue, JP Porcaro, and Julie Todaro. (60 minutes)


100s Philosophy and Psychology

Kazdin, Alan E., and Audrey Hamilton, prod. "Disciplining children effectively." Speaking of Psychology. American Psychological Association, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/disciplining-children.aspx>.

Psychologist Alan Kazdin, PhD, discusses corporal punishment and the most effective ways for parents to get their children to behave. (15 minutes)


300s Social Sciences

Dubner, Stephen J., and Christopher Werth, prod. "Diamonds Are a Marriage Counselor’s Best Friend: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast." Freakonomics. N.p., 16 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://freakonomics.com/2015/04/16/diamonds-are-a-marriage-counselors-best-friend-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/>. (Download not available)

Winning a valuable diamond should cause happiness, but this is the true story of a husband and wife who won a diamond and gained marital problems. Plus, it’s not even clear that a diamonds are valuable. (40 minutes)

Gross, Terry, and NPR Staff, prod. "Hillary Clinton: The Fresh Air Interview." Fresh Air. NPR, 12 June 2014. Web. 1 May 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2014/06/12/321313477/hillary-clinton-the-fresh-air-interview>. Terry Gross conducts an interview with Hillary Clinton. (45 minutes)


400s Language

"Weekly News in Slow Spanish." Episode #99. News in Slow Latin Spanish. N.p., 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.newsinslowspanish.com/latino/>.

Hear news read slowly in Spanish to increase comprehension. (2 minutes)


500s Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Graber, Cynthia, prod. "A Few Hundred Smartphones Could Catch Earthquakes Early." Scientific American's 60 Second Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. < http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/a-few-hundred-smartphones-could-catch-earthquakes-early/>

Scientists may be able to use the GPS on smartphones to pick up movements of an earthquake and provide extra seconds of early warning. (90 seconds)


600s Technology and Applied Sciences

Bauchner, Howard, prod. "JAMA Issue April 28, 2015." JAMA Network. Journal of the American Medical Association, 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://jama.jamanetwork.com/issue.aspx>.

Editor's Audio Summary by Howard Bauchner, MD, Editor in Chief of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, for the April 28, 2015 issue (7 minutes)


700s The Arts

Black, Michael Ian, prod. "How to be Amazing with Lin-Manuel Miranda." Episode #4. How to be Amazing. N.p., 18 Apr. 2015. Web. 1 May 2015. <https://soundcloud.com/audible/how-to-be-amazing-3>. (Download not available).

Michael Ian Black (The State, Inside Amy Schumer, Maron) interviews Lin-Manuel Miranda (writer and star of In the Heights and Hamilton). It is truly amazing. (4 minutes)

Mars, Roman, prod. "Edge of Your Seat." Episode #139. 99% Invisible. Radiotopia, 4 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/edge-of-your-seat/>.

The designing of chairs can be more difficult than the designing of skyscrapers. Hear why, and how the movement to spend less time sitting has made chair design more varied than ever. (18 minutes)

Simmons, Bill, prod. "Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, and Zach Lowe countdown the 25 most intriguing people of the NBA playoffs." B.S. Report. ESPN, 18 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/podcast/archive?id=2864045>. (47 minutes)

Hirway, Hrishi, prod. "The National." Episode #25. Song Exploder. Maximum Fun, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. < http://www.maximumfun.org/song-exploder/song-exploder-no-25-national >.

The music of Grammy award winning The National has been on Game of Thrones and Barak Obama’s presidential campaign. They discuss the origin of their songs and their collaborative work style. (18 minutes)


800s Literature and Rhetoric

"Ann Patchett | Elizabeth Gilbert." LIVE from the NYPL. New York Public Library, 11 Dec. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2013/12/10/ ann-patchett-elizabeth-gilbert>.

Ann Patchett (author of Taft, Bel canto, State of Wonder) and aElizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray Love and The Signature of All Things: A Novel), interview each other about being an author, owning a bookstore, religion and science, facing fears, and achieving goals. (72 minutes)


900s History

"Alan Cumming | Not My Father’s Son." Author Events. Free Library of Philadelphia, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <https://libwww.freelibrary.org/podcast/?podcastID=1311>.

Alan Cumming, (The Good Wife and Cabaret on Broadway) is both funny and heartbreaking as he discusses his life, work, and family tree. (1 hour)

Gross, Terry, and NPR Staff, prod. "After 20 Years On The Job, NYC Police Officer Tells His Intense Stories." Fresh Air. NPR, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2015/04/21/401238481/after-20-years-on-the-job-nyc-police-officer-tells-his-intense-stories>.

Steve Osborne, a former police officer, tells tales from his book, True tales from the life of a New York City cop. (37 minutes)

Johnsen, Greta, and Tricia Bobeda, prod. "Scott McCloud on comics, Elizabeth Blackwell's backstory and librarian nerd confessions." Nerdette. Chicago Public Media, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.< https://soundcloud.com/nerdette-podcast/scott-mccloud-on-comics-elizabeth-blackwells-backstory>.

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female doctor, and she spent her life helping women to become physicians and improving the care of women and children. Librarians confess how they are nerdy. (15 minutes; begins at minute 19:40.)

NPR Staff, prod. "Anniversary Of Oklahoma City Bombing Reopens Wounds For Survivors." Storycorps. NPR, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2015/04/17/400167661/anniversary-of-oklahoma-city-bombing-reopens-wounds-for-survivors>.

Survivors of the bombing talk about the lasting effects of the bomb on their lives. They were toddlers at the time. It is very emotional. (5 minutes)

Gross, Terry, and NPR Staff, prod. "After 20 Years On The Job, NYC Police Officer Tells His Intense Stories." Fresh Air. NPR, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2015/04/21/401238481/after-20-years-on-the-job-nyc-police-officer-tells-his-intense-stories>.

Steve Osborne, a former police officer, tells tales from his book, True tales from the life of a New York City cop. (37 minutes)

 

Sheryl will host, along with Madalyn Baron, an in-person discussion about podcasts at METRO's Social Media SIG meeting on June 22, 2015. We look forward to a fun and educational discussion on ways to organize and promote podcasts with (for example) book clubs, cataloging, and classes.

Contact Sheryl via email sheryl.ramer@mssm.edu or follower her on Twitter at @podcastlib. She tweets her favorite episodes and shows, scholarly shows, and suggestions for how to promote podcasts.

 

Image credit: Raw'n' Wild, Digital Art/Science Collaborator in Toronto, Canada

Tags: podcasts