MormonTimes.com: Genealogy venturing into podcast territory

Published: Thursday, March 20 2008 8:42 a.m. MDT

PROVO — Podcast is another means of getting the word out on genealogy subjects without the expense of radio or other mass media, genealogy podcaster Pat Richley said during a genealogy and computers conference last week.

A podcast is much like a radio broadcast in its makeup, except it can be heard anytime from a person's computer, Richley said.

More than 750 people, from novice to expert, attended the annual two-day Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy at the Brigham Young University Conference Center last weekend.

"This year we're busting at the seams," conference administrator Robert Holcomb said.

The conference was all about using today's technology to search for folks long since dead who would be amazed at the tools used to find them.

Richley began writing her "Dear Myrtle" column in 1995 and now podcasts interviews on genealogy via her Web site, blog.dearmyrtle.com.

Today's technology allows the recorded show on genealogy advice to be accessed at any time by anyone with a computer and Internet connection, rather than listening to the radio at the time of the broadcast.

Richley separates each segment of her show with recorded music and says she is careful to avoid violating copyright rules or paying royalties for use of the tunes. She also works around the necessity of buying sound mixers that cost thousands of dollars. In recording her telephone interviews of genealogy authors, archivists, researchers and software producers from around the world, for example, she props her digital recorder up between pillows and sets her telephone next to it. She advises not to scrimp when purchasing a headset.

Digital recorders have the necessary connection to plug directly into Richley's laptop computer so she can mix the interviews with other elements of her podcast using low-cost software, which also converts it to an .mp3 file, which she then uploads to her Web site.

Getting the word out about her podcasts to attract listeners is another challenge. Richley recommends sending e-mails to potential listeners and suggests using iTunes software, which is free. The software pulls podcasts into one area where listeners can find them, she said.

The retired post-secondary computer instructor also authored "DearMYRTLE's Joy of Genealogy" in 2006 and "The Everything Online Genealogy Book" in 2000.

Fifty-five other presenters included Paul Allen, who co-founded ancestry.com in 1997 and is now corporate executive officer of WorldVitaRecords.com; Claire V. Brisson-Banks, a staff information specialist at the Family History Library in Salt lake City; and Kip Sperry, professor of family history at BYU.


E-mail: rodger@desnews.com

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