Tuesday, March 15, 2005

OPAL Offers Podcasting of Library and Training Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tom Peters, 1-816-228-6406, tpeters@tapinformation.com

March 15, 2005

OPAL BEGINS PODCASTING ITS AUDIO ARCHIVES

OPAL: Online Programming for All Libraries (http://www.opal-online.org) has begun podcasting audio recordings of archived OPAL online events. Now you can listen to OPAL events on a wide variety of portable MP3 players. You also can link to the RSS feed so that you are notified whenever a new podcast becomes available.

To experience an OPAL podcast, please visit http://feeds.feedburner.com/OpalPodcast. An RSS link also has been added to the OPAL homepage.

OPAL is a collaborative effort by libraries of all types to provide cooperative web-based programming and training for library users and library staff members. These live, online events are held in an online auditorium where participants can interact via voice-over-IP, text chatting, and synchronized browsing. Examples of OPAL public online programs include book discussion programs, interviews, library training, memoir writing workshops, and virtual tours of special digital library collections.

Digital audio recordings of OPAL programs are placed in the OPAL Archive (http://www.opal-online.org/archive.htm) so that interested patrons who missed the live online event can listen at a convenient time.

In a related development, digital audio recordings of OPAL programs will become available in the popular MP3 format. Until now, audio recordings were available only in WMA (Windows Media Audio) format. Offering both formats will extend the reach and usability of OPAL programs.

Tom Peters, OPAL Coordinator noted, “OPAL is one of the first library programs in the nation to podcast audio content of public access programming. Individual pioneering librarians have demonstrated the value and usefulness of podcasting. OPAL is pleased to begin mainstreaming into OPAL’s overall mission this innovative method of disseminating information.”

More About OPAL: OPAL utilizes software from Talking Communities (http://www.talkingcommunities.com/) featuring voice-over-IP, text chatting, and synchronized browsing. OPAL is administered by the Alliance Library System (http://www.alliancelibrarysystem.com/), the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center (http://www.mitbc.org/), and the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service .
Libraries of all types and sizes may join OPAL. For more information, please contact Tom Peters, OPAL Coordinator, at tpeters@tapinformation.com or 1-816-228-6406.

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