Thing 7: Podcasts

soundwavesHaving skipped thing 7 initially I’m back to readdress it and I have to say my morning commutes have been all the richer since I started delving into the bountiful cornucopia of podcasts!

In my enthusiasm for this element I had really wanted to make my own podcast but just didn’t have the confidence or knowledge to make an interesting enough edit so in the end I resolved to write a short story and eventually record it as a podcast. This is proving to be a time consuming task that I don’t foresee nearing completion for quite some time amongst all my other commitments though I hasten to add that I still have every intention to do this eventually. As I’ve been cumulatively listening to more and more of these amazing sound bites my reluctant awareness of my shoddy memory urges me to write my post sans completed podcast because as time advances i’m realising that for every compelling thought and comment that occurs to me, another one slips out the back door.

I’ve written in a previous post about how inspiring I found the “liboncon” interview on the circulating ideas podcast. I find it highly motivating that people would give up their spare time and push themselves to unnatural levels of stress in order to help others develop professionally (just like the Rudai23 team)! In a practical sense it’s also great to hear about the technicalities of such a project; the method of management, the things that didn’t quite work the first time and all of the logistical and technical details.

On a level of personal interest I’ve also been listening to some great literary ones and I love the BBC 4 series “history of ideas” and also “history of the 20th century”. Sometimes my eyes feel too tired to read on the train so it’s perfect to just close my eyes and let the historians do the talking! If I’m feeling like I really deserve a treat I allow myself to listen to serial which I’m rationing to myself in small bursts.

As a huge fan of music, soundcloud has been a close friend of mine for quite some time now but I never realised that there was such a breadth of content before, having mainly used it for electronic music mixes. In a totally nerdy librarian way I’d just like to digress for one second to comment on how interesting I find the way that the sound recordings are “catalogued”. I use quotation marks because I’m pretty sure that whoever the tech gurus are that are responsible for organising the clips don’t class themselves as cataloguers yet I suppose, in a 21st century, technological way that’s what it is. I’ll add that I’m not too familiar with exactly how this is done and maybe it’s down to the creator of the sound recording to choose what genres and other categories to use as their metadata but it’s interesting all the same. For books and information there are very specific rules about the categories and subjects you would add to a record but with new platforms showcasing images and sound (like Instagram and soundcloud) these traditional rules become subservient to the creator’s intentions and will. If we consider that the creators of the media are responsible for the “cataloguing” or tagging of the metadata themselves, the grey areas of cataloguing which have always existed but have been exercised with caution in the hands of professionals have now spilled out into vast oceans of grey area that are policed by no one with any particular authority. Chaos! Bedlam! I hear you exclaim. But actually it makes for some really interesting interpretation. I love observing how different people refer to different genres, how these terms metamorphosize and transcend and particularly with more underground or niche types of music, how hybrid terms become labelled and having being labelled, become a genre within their own right. With online communities sharing, naming, and breeding these interchangeable words and sounds that characterise music it is evolving with impending velocity and depth all the time. I spoke to my colleague at work about this and she also finds this interesting in the context of instagram – she’s a keen photographer and she said that similarly, she loves to see what terms people have tagged their pictures with and we got onto saying that in this sense, one can almost analyse this from a psychological or even a philosophical level.

Well that’s enough philosophising about cataloguing for now, welcome to the inner working of my crazy mind! So in addition to my digression I think my final point here will be that I love podcasts, they offer a new way to ingest information and as librarians I think we should be all over that!


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