There is a big problem in the podcast universe: that, like all popular mass mediums, podcasts are at risk of disappearing in the face of rapid shifts in platform, delivery, and recording technology. This issue has been identified by those in the field of archiving and preservation as endemic to mass media technologies to date (such as reel-to-reels, VHS tapes and CDs). It is even more of a worry for digital content that can be easily wiped, corrupted, or replaced with a software update.
Preserve This Podcast (PTP) is a 2-year Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant-funded project whose goal is to create a podcast, zine and website, all which provide indie podcasters the tools and know-how to organize, backup and describe their digital files. The PTP team is composed of four women involved in various ways in the library and archives field, who have come together to devise an education and outreach program that focuses specifically on a community of practice to develop a tailor-made personal digital archiving teaching program geared specifically for them.
The “Listen Up!: How Libraries Can Help Podcasters Face the Challenges of Preservation” workshop aims to introduce ALA conference participants to our project by breaking down the workshop into three parts. First we will provide some context by introducing participants to key points in the history of podcast technology. After, we will provide examples of what an indie podcast “studio” looks like, which often involves a mixture of of recording technology and softwares, and DIY contraptions (picture a blanket thrown over the podcaster and a microphone on a bed). In addition, we will play some clips from the Preserve This Podcast podcast, and alongside that, step the workshop through the three core exercises outlined in the instructional zine to do with file organization, backing up your files, and metadata. By the end of the workshop, all participants will have worked through the exercises, and have a better understanding of the specific preservation issues facing indie podcasters.
We hope that by sharing our workshop lessons, we can inspire librarians and archivists to reach out to their respective communities and reproduce some or part of our workshop. As the popularity of podcasts suggests, the medium itself is an effective teaching tool that can be applied to greater library outreach projects (beyond topics on personal digital archiving): there are yet other ways to reach patrons, especially those who may not be able to readily visit the library in person.
In addition, we hope to raise awareness for podcasts as historic born-digital audio collections, with great research value, that may be considered in broader archival and special collections collecting scopes.
ALA Unit/Subunit: ALCTS
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.