Recently Greg at Open Stacks posted a response to a list of podcasting tips originally blogged by the Rock & Roll Librarian. Since I've been creating podcasts at MPOW for a while now - over a year to be exact - I thought I would talk about some of the issues/ tips raised in these posts along with another podcasting discussion posted by Meredith at Information Wants To Be Free a little while back.
R&R Librarian Tip #2 is "Podcasts can be too short or too long" and suggests a 5-25 minute length which Greg thought sounded good too. I would generally go along with that. Most episodes of Listen Up! tend to be between 11 and 30 minutes long. I'm coming to the conclusion that shorter podcasts tend to work better though for institutional uses. Of course if you're podcasting a reading or lecture or interview it's going to be longer but I think for resource or news or current awareness stuff a shorter length makes a more concise, listenable experience. The current Listen Up! (#15) has 2 segments, is 11 mintues and change long and I'm probably going to aim for that general length and format in the future.
Like Meredith, I really dig the Audio To Go podcasts that Worcester Polytechnic Institute is doing. To me they get good info across to the listener, are easily digestable and pertinent as long as they're providing the resource/ service. So a very long potential "lifespan". In addition to the "listenability" issue the shorter podcasts are easier to download and/ or stream for folks who are accessing your library over non-broadband connections. But it's always a good idea to provide links or some other way for those users to get similiar info who mgiht have slow connections or not be into the whole audio thing.
Aside: The longest podcast I've done to date (LU!14) contained an open mic reading that was about an hour long. Of course there was a major server slowdown the day I posted it and sent the link to the folks who put on the reading, making listening sloooooooow. So stuff will happen, as they say!