Podcast – new media distribution methods
As everyone knows, the coronavirus has affected numerous aspects of normal operations in our society. The operation of archives have not escaped this scourge. Instead of face-to-face meetings, Internet meetings are now the norm. These days, conferences are held via the Internet. Lectures, presentations, courses, etc., have been moved on-line. In many ways, this drastic change has also given us the opportunity to learn new methods of spreading information and finding methods to reach new groups within our community. It is clear, for example, that live broadcasts, such as on Facebook, mean that we have been able to reach a much broader audience than would have been the case with traditional conferences. As regards the National Archive of Iceland, one can safely say that 6–10 times more people listen to the broadcasts than one would expect to attend a conference on the same material.
Podcasts have been enormously popular recently, and the coronavirus has undoubtedly had, in some respects, a hand in this. The fact is, however, that this is simply a user-friendly and inexpensive technology that most people can learn to use to share their material. No type of media has grown as much as the podcast format. The advantages of them are numerous. Every person can be their own producer, and with dynamic connections to social networks, it is easy to advertise certain programmes or discussions.
The National Archives of Iceland recently began broadcasting their own podcast named: Til skjalanna. The podcast contains a range of material relating to the Archives in one way or another. It has touched on aspects such as new document collections relating to economic history, the re-registration of data about WWII, old sound recordings in the archives, etc. At the present time, 6 podcasts have been broadcast. This means that approximately 2 broadcasts have been issued since the site was launched. Each broadcast is approximately half an hour, and the goal has been to have the programmes rather short and try to attract as broad a group of listeners as possible.
This experiment has been run for three months now. We have been privileged by the fact that the people working in the archives have been people who have diverse and extensive knowledge in numerous fields, and the preparations of the programmes have not taken too much time as a result. In addition, the National Archives have enjoyed the goodwill of customers, and in our experience, we know that people are willing to come to us for short interviews, talk about their own findings and to tell us how the data kept in the archives has been of use to them in their researches. There is ample reason, therefore, to encourage local archives to examine the possibility of creating their own podcasts and thereby grant the public a view of the work carried out therein.
Unnar Rafn Ingvarsson