Monday, January 25, 2010

An introduction and podcasts

Hi everybody! My name is Ben Bromley and I am one of the RAO interns for this year. I'm a graduate student at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC, and I'll be graduating in May. My goal for writing on this blog is to try and find some of the cool things that archives are doing to promote and provide access to their materials.

Podcasts are audio broadcasts delivered via an RSS feed or through a website. You can listen to them on your computer, or you can listen to them on a digital audio player, such as an iPod or a Zune. There are usually presented in episode format and are published on a regular basis.

There are two primary types of archival podcasts: podcasts that contain digitized audio material from their collections and podcasts of new material that are created by archives in order to promote materials, talk about events, and other similar things. Often, both of these types of podcasts are combined. Here is a short list of archival podcasts that are available online.

  • Presidential Libaries Uncovered: A podcast from the National Archives and Records Administration which takes recorded audio of presidents from Hoover through Clinton talking about major policy initiatives, giving major speeches, or talking informally with friends and advisors. Recent episodes include Nixon talking about his 1972 trip to China, John F. Kennedy creating the Peace Corps, and Lyndon B. Johnson talking about his Great Society.

  • The Virtual Gramophone: A podcast from the Library and Archives of Canada which features digitized recordings of 78-rpm records and wax cylinders from their collections.

  • Podcasts from the Los Alamos Historical Society: A podcast from the Los Alamos Historical Society which primarily focuses on the Manhattan Project, nuclear technology, the Cold War, and (surprisingly enough) ranching.

  • Collections Up Close: A podcast from the Minnesota Historical Society which “tells the stories behind selected items in the Minnesota Historical Society's collections.”

  • Podcasts from the National Archives of the United Kingdom: This podcast “features a mix of lectures from top academics specifically aimed at pupils alongside radio-style investigations of historical topics using primary documents from the National Archives read by actors.”

  • Kansas Memory Podcast: This podcast features the stories of people from Kansas, both famous and not, as told through their letters, diaries, and other documents.

  • What Endures...: This podcast from the LSU Libraries Special Collections T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History features updates on Center projects and activities as well as featuring audio excerpts from their collections.

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