Type "Bowdoin College" into the iTunes Music Store, and it will actually return results beyond the generic weather report podcasts.

Thanks to the efforts of those in Information Technology (IT), New Media Director Mark Leaman and Multimedia Designer Kevin Travers, podcasts featuring the Asian studies department, the music department, Bowdoin sports, and BCNews are now accessible on iTunes and through the Bowdoin podcast web site.

The podcast project began when Leaman and Travers collaborated with Asian Studies and History Associate Professor Tom Conlan, an expert on Mongolian scrolls. The length of the scrolls required students to constantly flip pages in book form in order to understand the scrolls, inhibiting the students' ability to see the scrolls in their entirety.

Leaman and Travers created a Bowdoin web site that showed the entire scroll and also provided zooming capabilities, a glossary, and interactive comparisons between scrolls from different centuries. Eventually, beginning in September, the "scroll project" evolved into Bowdoin's first podcast because it had already proved its compatibility with the new technology.

Since the scroll project, Leaman and Travers have created several different podcasts and made them available through iTunes. The most popular podcasts come from the Bowdoin music department, which holds a spot in iTunes's top 100 educational podcasts. These selections include the Bowdoin Choir, the Chamber Choir, and the Mozart's Birthday Concert. There are also broadcasts from the women's basketball games, Common Hour presentations with Charles Johnson and Matthew Pearl, and various interviews with professors and program directors on campus.

Leaman emphasized the ease of creating and using a podcast and also the recognition that Bowdoin has received from this new technology.

"The music podcast points directly to the music page, so it's bumped up the traffic to the music webpage significantly," he said.

Leaman and Travers do not edit the content of the podcast, but "clean up" the audio to make listening more enjoyable.

"We facilitate the creation of content instead of making it," Leaman said. "We convert material or set up individual feeds for the professors."

This means that the podcasts are original recordings, but Leaman and Travers make that audio much more pure and easily accessible to anyone with iTunes.

In terms of new developments, IT Loaning may soon have podcast-friendly portable recording devices, which have microphones for recording club meetings or concerts. They can then be plugged into a computer so IT can clean up the audio and loads the podcast. According to Travers, these devices make it so "there is no barrier of entry for students" into the world of podcasting. If students or faculty are interested in creating their own podcast, they are free to contact Leaman, Travers, or Chief Information Officer Mitch Davis.

Bowdoin was recently accepted into a program called iTunes U, which gives students and faculty access to iTunes media files through Blackboard. Students can now view videos and other graphics and listen to music files in the comfort of their own rooms instead of digging around the library archives.

"Now, students can just watch the clips on their laptops on the Quad instead of in the archives," said Leaman.

The media is restricted to the campus, keeping it secure, and the convenience of being able to watch it anytime, anywhere, makes iTunes U have major appeal for college students.

Future podcasts will include more Bowdoin sports broadcasts, Common Hour speakers, and possibly WBOR talk shows. At any rate, the work that Leaman and Travers put into the podcasts has increased accessible technology in the Bowdoin community by leaps and bounds. Keep searching the iTunes Music Store?There's much more to come.