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Part V: Appendices > Glossary

A. Glossary

Knowing these terms will help you sound like a veteran podcaster.


Stands for Advanced Audio Coding, this is the audio file format that is used by Apple Computers in its iTunes Music Store. Based on the MPEG-4 standard (a newer, more advanced standard than MP3), AAC files are generally considered to sound somewhat better than MP3 files compressed at a comparable (or even higher) bit rate. Most music players other than iPods do not support the AAC file format.


Specialized software that detects and reads RSS feeds. Specialized aggregators designed to locate and download podcasts are referred to as iPodders or podcatching software. These aggregators allow you to subscribe to those podcasts that interest you. They will then automatically download new episodes of those podcasts when they become available and, optionally, synchronize them with your music jukebox software and/or your portable music player.


See enclosure.


The data capacity of a connection between computers. While the term is usually used to describe the size of the “data pipe” between machines (that is, the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time), it is also used to describe the amount of data that moves through an online web account in a given period of time. It’s significant to podcasters because web hosting accounts often set limits for bandwidth and charge for any excess bandwidth that’s used.


The amount of data (measured in bits) that’s created by one second of audio in an MP3 file. A higher bitrate yields better sound quality but creates larger files.


A journal that is created and managed online. Podcasts often have accompanying blogs that are used by podcasters as a vehicle for disseminating their show notes.


An audio effect that makes the volume of an audio track more uniform, reducing the disparity between the track’s loudest points and its softest points. In general, compression enhances the listenability of your podcast, particularly for listeners who are using low-quality earbuds or speakers.

Compression is also used to refer to the process by which an audio file is translated into a format that preserves most (but not all) of the file’s audio information while producing a file that is significantly smaller in size than the original. MP3 and AAC are both compressed file formats.


Specific legal protections that are provided to the owners and creators of intellectual property.

Creative Commons

A not-for-profit organization that offers a flexible, less-restrictive alternative to artists instead of traditional copyright protection mechanisms. Information about the organization and terms of the Creative Commons license can be found at creativecommons.org.


A measure of the difference in loudness as the volume of a signal is adjusted. In general, one decibel is the smallest difference that a listener can perceive while a 10 decibel increase effectively doubles a signal’s loudness.

Digital Rights Management

Technology that allows a content provider to limit access to digital content. For example, Digital Right Management prevents someone from distributing music they’ve purchased in the iTunes music store.


A technique for creating a podcast from two separately recorded audio sources. Typically, two individuals will have a conversation with each one recording his own part. Editing software then allows the two recordings to be stitched together into a single audio file that sounds as if the two parts were recorded together.


A file that is attached to an electronic communication. Most computer users are familiar with this concept as it’s applied to email, where it’s often referred to as an attachment. Podcasts can be delivered as enclosures or attachments to an RSS feed.


The process of translating raw audio information into a particular file format.


Another name for an RSS file. Your podcatching (aggregator) software checks the feed to see if there’s new content available on your website.

File Format

The way a computer file is structured so that its information can be understood by other computers or devices such as portable music players. There are several file formats for audio information including MP3 and AAC. While information can often be translated easily from one format to another, formats are not usually compatible with one another. A portable music player that understands the MP3 format, for example, will often not be able to work with files in AAC format.


An acronym for File Transfer Protocol. This is the technology most often used to move large files from one location to another. Typically, you’ll use FTP to send your podcast up to your web host’s server.


A set of headphones combined with a microphone in a single unit. One advantage of using a headset is that is maintains a uniform distance between your mouth and the microphone. Many podcasters find headsets to be more convenient than using a separate mic and headphones.

ID3 Tag

Specially formatted information that is attached to an MP3 file. On an audio file that contains a song, the ID3 tag will specify the song’s title, the album from which it came, the artist’s name, the song’s genre, and the year in which it was released. Podcasters use ID3 tags to append information about a podcast to the file in which it’s delivered. The results can be less than satisfactory, though, since the ID3 specification was created specifically for information about music, not podcasts.


Originally, iPodder referred to the specific podcatching software package that was available on iPodder.org. The term has become somewhat generic over time and is now often used to refer to any aggregator software for podcasts. (See aggregator.)


The legal arrangement under which music can be used. Licensing defines the conditions under which a particular piece of music can be played as well as the royalty payment due to the composer and artist. (See Podsafe music.)


A short audio segment that is repeated multiple times. Loops are the building block of much of the music that’s generated with Apple’s GarageBand software.


Following the mixing process, this is the process of creating the final edited, mixed track that will be your podcast. This is the last step in the podcast creating process before encoding.


The process of using audio recording software to put two or more tracks together, aligning the tracks and adjusting the relative volume levels appropriately. For example, it is during the mixing process that you might lower the volume of a music track so that a voice track playing simultaneously can be heard clearly.


One of several popular file formats for audio files. MP3 files are the current industry standard for audio files, in general, and podcasts, in particular.


A radio-like show that is recorded to an MP3 file and then distributed over the Internet. A distinctive feature of podcasts is that they are made available for distribution as an enclosure to an RSS feed. Listeners can download the file and listen to it on a portable music player or they can listen to it as an audio stream on their computers.

Podcatching Software

See aggregator.

Podsafe Music

Music that is made available for use in podcasts by the artists and composers without standard royalty obligations. Artists who provide podsafe music usually do so in return for exposure that isn’t available to them through commercial broadcast outlets.


A short audio commercial for a particular podcast, usually produced by the producer of that podcast and then played on other podcasts.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

A technology that allows interested individuals to automatically monitor your website for new content. This is the technology that automatically delivers your podcasts to listeners who have “subscribed” to your podcast. The RSS feed announces that a new podcast is available and makes the podcast accessible as an enclosure.

Sample Rate

The number of times per second that audio software takes a “snapshot” of an analog audio signal as it converts that analog information to a digital format. A higher sample rate (more snapshots per second) provides higher quality digital audio but also results in a larger file.

Show Notes

Additional information about topics referenced in your podcast that you make available on the Web for your listeners. Most often, this consists of links to websites mentioned in your podcast. Also, show notes often contain links to photos of people, places, or things that were mentioned on your show.


Any audio information that registers on your audio recording software. In podcasting, this term will usually refer to a voice signal that is generated by speaking into a microphone.


A service that provides free high-quality VoIP calling between its users. For a nominal fee, it also allows you to make calls into the traditional phone network.


The audio equivalent of sight-seeing, sound-seeing consists of verbally describing an environment for your podcast audience. Father Roderick Vonhögen’s sound-seeing tours of the Vatican on his Catholic Insider podcast are a terrific example of this genre.

Streaming Audio

Audio that is played over your computer but not actually downloaded to your hard drive. Even though podcast listeners often stream a podcast’s audio rather than downloading it, music licensing organizations consider podcasts to be downloads and, therefore, subject to a different licensing structure that is cost-prohibitive.


A very short audio clip that identifies you and/or your podcast. Sweepers are often used to segue between segments of your show, especially before or after music.


A discrete segment of recorded audio. While some podcasts consist of a single recorded track, a typical podcast will usually consist of several tracks mixed together. Most recording software will accommodate multiple audio tracks and will allow you to edit each track separately before mixing them together.


An acronym that stands for Voice over IP (Internet Protocol), this term refers to the technology that allows users to make phone calls over the Internet rather than over traditional phone lines. VoIP technology is important to podcasters because it allows you to record conversations more easily and with higher quality than would be possible over phone lines.

Web Hosting

The service provided by a company that maintains a presence for your website and/or podcast on the Internet. Web hosting companies typically charge according to the amount of data you store on their servers and the amount of bandwidth (data transfer) you use. Large podcasts take up more space and consume more bandwidth than smaller ones, something you’ll want to consider as your podcast gains popularity.


An acronym for Extensible Markup Language, XML allows web application designers to create their own customized tags for web documents. For podcasters, it is the technology that facilitates RSS and allows aggregator software to find podcasts on the Internet.



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