is a series of digital-media files which are distributed over the
Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable
media players and computers. The term podcast, like broadcast,
can refer either to the series of content itself or to the method by
which it is syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting. The
host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.
The term is a portmanteau of the words "iPod" and "broadcast" the Apple iPod being the brand of portable media player for which the first podcasting scripts were developed. These scripts allowed podcasts to be automatically transferred to a mobile device after they are downloaded.
Though podcaster's web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.
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Podcast Yahoo, is an example of a very full featured podcast directory. Yahoo's beta offering presents podcasts from many professional organizations including NPR, Slate Magazine, and others.
They also organize their listing by categories, offer a list of the most popular series and episodes currently available, and let users search through the entire database.
Yahoo's site is professionally done, and likely has people permanently assigned to work on it, and so it differs from many of the other podcasting directories available.
Many directories are little more than listings of amateur podcasters, but Yahoo's site brings out a number of feeds done by mainstream organization, raising the level of quality available.
For anyone who wants to find a podcast, Yahoo is certainly a good choice. They have a slick, well done site that is easy to use. Yahoo even includes software at the site so that podcasts can be listened to from within the web browser.
After logging in, Yahoo allows users to subscribe to feeds they enjoy, letting them be notified when new episodes are available. Yahoo even has a detailed walkthrough to help visitors create and begin publishing their own podcast.
Podcast Yahoo clearly demonstrates the ability of a corporate group to create a well made site. While it's very unlikely that Yahoo or a company like it would have been able to come up with podcasting, once they know what to do, they can do it well.
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