Integrating Podcasting into Your Institution’s Web Site

Paul Kruczynski, Senior Web Implementation Specialist
Brett Essler, Web Publications Editor, Buffalo State


  • Five members of production staff.
  • Current Web site in Ingeniux XML-based content management.
  • RSS feeds delivered through system.
  • Database-driven events calendar.
  • Campus e-newsletter.
  • BBS (prospective and accepted students and staff and faculty).

Podcasting Origins

  • Initiated project in March 2005.
  • Conducted needs assessment.
  • Purchased four 20-gigabyte iPods.

Staff and Roles

  • Web administration director: Project management.
  • Web implementation specialist: CMS, XML, XSLT, XHTML.
  • Web systems administrator: Databases.
  • Web graphic specialist: Design and icons.
  • Web publications editor: Content development.

Initial Challenges

  • Content generation.
  • Campus buy-in.
  • Time management.
  • New form of online community.
  • Few campus models (in March 2005).
  • Site integration.

Integration With Existing Site Features

  • Podcast section of Web site.
  • Create relationships between content sources.
  • Associate podcasts with events calendar.

Features: Presentation and Archiving

  • Multiple access points to content.
  • Headline link.
  • Link to sound file.
  • More… link to additional content.
  • Archives centered around date-based approach.
  • Permalink to listing.


  • Use terminology familiar to blog/podcast users, but new to users.
  • Allows for discrete URL; unchanging link to individual podcast.
  • Challenge: First introduction of terminology on campus.
  • Led to use of term in other features.


  • Associated with current Web trends (phase out term “categories”).
  • Tags provide multiple ways of sorting.
  • Greater flexibility in sorting.
  • Drives user to associated topics/content.
  • Allows for “tagged as” grouping with discrete URL.

Google Mini

  • Focused search within podcasts section.
  • Alternative (and complement) to date- and tag-based search.
  • Proximity of targeted search box aids and improves user experience.

Populating the Podcast Database

  • Demonstrate uses by example.
  • Broad variety of content (events, entertainment, instructional).
  • Attend and record numerous campus events.
  • Outreach to early adopters: Student radio, poetry club, undergraduate research, lecture series.
  • Recorded about 20 events before launch.

Content Generation Process

  • Source (iPod, existing audio, radio broadcast).
  • Edit files using Audacity.
  • Encode with iTunes.
  • Describe, tag, and upload content: Administrative interface.


  • Describe new technology.
  • Instructions for creating and listening.
  • Print documentation: PDF wallet-sized manual on recording with iPod.
  • Sign-out sheets for iPod.


  • Soft launch: Late June.
  • Launch: July 28.
  • Apple iTunes launch: October 17.

Changes During Development

  • Apple extended iTunes to include additional RSS items.
  • Adding to iTunes Music Store allows one-click subscriptions for users; no need for RSS.
  • Raises chances of discovery by casual users, browse-bys, non-education-based-audience.

Cross-site Integration

  • Student-run radio station.
  • Niagara Movement Lecture Series.
  • Undergraduate research.
  • Poetry club.

The iTunes Effect

  • Name recognition increased by iTunes Music Store distribution?
  • Mid-week spikes on Tuesday and Wednesdays: New Music Tuesdays?

Continuing Challenges

  • Shifting expectations as standards rapidly change: Videocasts, Yahoo.
  • Campus technology gap.
  • Limitations of iPod voice Memo function.
  • Time management.

Goals: Short Term

  • Curriculum: Computer fundamentals.
  • Creative uses: China research diary.
  • Further site integration: Audio spotlights that tie in with campus events.
  • Local student music show.

Goals: Long Term

  • Increased campus participation and awareness.
  • Campus technology.
  • Vodcasting.
  • Expanded administrative interface to allow trusted campus user groups.
  • “Electrify!” — better, more content.