Welcome to the first installment of Introduction to Podcasting, a short series of audio tutorials for those just getting started. This installment:
Hi, I’m lisa Hooper, a librarian and Head of Media Services at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. This is Introduction to Podcasting, a series of short audio tutorials for those just getting started. Thanks for listening. This installment is for all the students working on a podcasting assignment for class.
If you have any questions, comments, or just want to talk about your work, send a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s l h o o p e r, the number 1, at Tulane dot e d u.
Well, if you’re listening to this installment, then I imagine you have an assignment coming due soon that asks you to submit a podcast episode rather than the typical written research paper. If this is your first time doing a podcast and you’re wondering what in the world are you supposed to do, I promise you’re not alone.
What you’re listening to right now is not a true podcast per se, but a series of short audio tutorials intended to take some of the mystery out of it and, frankly, the process is pretty similar. Pick and choose the one you need as you go along. This particular installment is intended to reach out a hand and let you know you’ve got people on campus who’ve got your back on this.
First of all, as you listen to other installments in this series, you’ll undoubtedly hear “this takes time.” Podcasting really does take far more time than you might imagine. Even just one episode can take as much time and sometimes even more time than your typical research, so don’t hold onto this project until you’ve got more time. I’m tell you, as someone practiced in the art of procrastinating through sometimes questionable project prioritization practices, I feel pretty confident in saying that a “better time” will never come.
Your professor has probably has already created stages for you to complete this project in. Absolutely take full advantage of that plan. Even better if you can embellish it with your own mini-project calendar. A project calendar essentially identifies dates by which you can reasonably accomplish specific tasks. This helps you see the whole picture of what you need to accomplish and spreads the work out in a manageable way rather than trying to do all the things all at the same time.
The Student Success Center at Tulane University has some fantastic resources that you can use in your academic and personal life and that you can re-scale for your podcasting project. The direct URL will be listed as a resource below this recording’s transcript. You can also just Google Tulane Student Success Resources.
Time is one thing. Something else you’ll hear pretty often in the other installments for this series is “you have to do the research.” Podcasting is just like anything else where you need to convey information; you need to discover information sources, come to understand where the authority of those resources rests and what that means for your work, and you need to integrate and synthesize those resources. You have an entire crew of folkx at the library working with the singular aim of supporting your research. You can start at the library’s website, library.tulane.edu, to look for books, academic articles, data sets, photographs, newspaper articles, interviews, all sorts of resources. If just looking at the first search bar is not quite getting you the answers you’re looking for, then get yourself back to the library’s website, and look for a button labelled “Library Guides.” Clicking on that button will lead you to an incredible list of guides, generally organized by subject. So, find the subject that most closely relates to your topic and follow the links through. You will land at a library guide that identifies subject-specific databases and related resources perfect for your topic. You’ll also find contact information for librarians who are specially designated to support that field of study and we are very happy to schedule research consultations with you. Just ask us, we’re there.
One last note about the practical side of podcasting – the equipment. Now, most phones have a voice recorder app and almost all our computers have built in mics. Those could be just fine, but let’s say you really want to take it up a notch and have truly superb audio quality. If that’s you, then what you need to do is get yourself to the service desk on the sixth floor of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library and ask if any of their mics are available to check out. At this moment, we have a podcasting and recording kit (which is a little bit more advanced), a Snowball mic, and two Yeti mics. The Snowball and Yeti mics have USB connectors so they are literally plug and play. To check them out of the library all you need is to visit Media Services (that’s that service desk on the 6th floor) and bring your Splash card. Now, once you have your mics you need to record into some program. Some people are very comfortable recording into a Zoom session and just downloading only the audio file. I like to use the opensource program Audacity for recording and post-production editing. Tulane University IT also makes Adobe Creative Cloud available to all students and you would have access to advanced editing tools there, as well. I’ll drop links to these resources and supporting services below the transcript.
In the process of creating this series, I had to get a new laptop. And, while the onboard mics of this new machine seem more or less the same, the audio output of the new laptop is truly atrocious, it’s horrible. It’s unbearable for all things audio and so as a result I now listen to all audio through my earbuds. It works well enough for me, using earbuds for meetings, classes, and even for basic audio editing, but depending on the quality of your speakers, you may want to also check out a pair of high quality headphones from the 6th floor service desk, which again is Media Services. These will help you hear all the minutia and be a tremendous aid to the audio editing process. One important thing to note, is that while you can check the microphones out of the library for up to a week, the headphones were originally intended to be used in the library and need to be returned by the end of the day; that is still true.
All of this is to say, you’ve got people behind you waiting to hold you up and lend a hand while you find your footing. Look us up, look for our resources and services, we are really here for you.
And with that I'll sign off for this installment. Thanks for listening. I'll catch you next time.
Tulane Student Success Center, Resources: https://success-dev.tulane.edu/resources
Tulane University Libraries: https://library.tulane.edu/
Creative Technology Lending Collection: https://libguides.tulane.edu/c.php?g=1155112&p=8443713 (for inspiration, pro-tips, and worksheet guiding you through the basics of audio-editing in Audacity)
Tulane University IT, Available Software (offerings subject to change): https://it.tulane.edu/available-software