By Paula Kielstra
Today we are celebrating the power of podcasting, in honour of International Podcast Day.
Podcasts are sometimes described as internet radio that you can listen to on demand. They are series of episodes released online in the form of individual digital media files. Once downloaded, podcast episodes can be listened to anytime, anywhere. One of the reasons that podcasts are so popular is the variety in style, form and content that they offer listeners. They can act as informal think tanks, offer a space for storytelling, keep us informed about current events, delve into niche topics, and expose us to a myriad of new ideas.
In the case of our own podcast, Discover Library and Archives Canada, the medium acts as a gateway to Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC’s) rich and extensive collection. In the podcast, we explore a wide range of topics related to Canada’s documentary heritage. Whether we’re discussing Glenn Gould with an award-winning biographer, delving into the service files of First World War soldiers, or spotlighting documents related to Métis ancestry, our podcast informs, surprises and entertains.
Our dedicated team of podcasters labours over each podcast episode. With such abundant archival and bibliographic collections to pull inspiration from, selecting topics for upcoming episodes can be quite the task. However, through brainstorming sessions, research, and meeting with subject experts, the team is able to choose topics that it feels listeners will find fascinating.
Next, guests are invited to our studio, discussions are recorded with our host, and then the behind-the-scenes magic begins. Our multimedia production specialists spend hours editing the material in order to select conversational gems from the recordings and stitch them together into a cohesive, streamlined whole. Multiply that by two—because in order for all Canadians to enjoy the podcast, we produce French and English versions of each episode.
The podcast team in the recording studio: multimedia specialists Tom Thompson and David Knox with archivist and host Geneviève Morin.
To date, we have released 39 high-caliber podcast episodes and our listeners seem thrilled. The popularity of the episodes consistently places LAC’s podcast in the top rankings of its category on iTunes, and the number of listeners continues to grow with each new episode. The breadth of topics covered in our podcast, and the depth of knowledge shared by the subject experts we interview, allow Discover Library and Archives Canada to make a valuable contribution to the international landscape of podcasting.
If you haven’t listened to it yet, it’s time to check it out. Listen to episodes in the car, while doing dishes, alone or with friends. Discover Library and Archives Canada is the perfect cure for boredom and will draw you into the fascinating world of Canada’s cultural heritage as it can be found in our wonderful collection.
Paula Kielstra is a project manager in the Online Content section of the Public Services Branch at Library and Archives Canada.