MediaPub Publishing Guide

To help you publish a podcast, we have organised the following help topics:

 

 

Introduction

Before users can listen to your podcast it requires some means of publication. The most common way to publish a podcast is by using an RSS feed, which is a special file that points to the podcast (the MP3, MPEG4 etc.) and contains your description of the podcast's content.

The University of Oxford provides a cataloguing and publishing tool MediaPub which generates RSS and manages the University media publishing workflow.

MediaPub allows University members to publish a media item to the following University channels:

As a summary, you should already have the following items before publishing:

  • A media file
  • Information about the media: title, description, speakers, keywords, etc
  • The URL of the media file. If you need help we could host the podcast for you in a University online repository. Please contact podcasts@it.ox.ac.uk for more information.
  • Signed Legal form. The release form can be downloaded from http://www.ox.ac.uk/itunes_u/contribute.html

MediaPub can be used then to add media items to an existing departmental series, or a new series can be created.

We always recommend the following short training session for anyone involved in podcasting at Oxford: http://courses.it.ox.ac.uk/detail/TIMV

 

 

MediaPub RSS System

MediaPub is a cataloguing engine and RSS newsfeed generator for podcasts and ebooks from the University of Oxford. It was built using Drupal 7 and replaces the podcasting functionality of OxITEMS. MediaPub feeds can be subscribed to by digital media players allowing the end user to receive podcasts etc. without the need to visit the originating web site themselves.

The best way of discovering how MediaPub can help you cataloguing and publishing is watching the MediaPub training video.

The first step the author has to make is to upload the podcast to their web space, e.g. a college server, their users web space, or to a course area on the WebLearn VLE. Or, you may submit the media file that is the podcast to Educational Media Services, and we will host the podcast for you on our own server. Once the location of the podcast is known, follow the instructions below:

 

 

Using the Dashboard

Go to the MediaPub web site: http://mediapub.it.ox.ac.uk. Accessing the MediaPub system requires authentication as a member of Oxford University through WebAuth.

After you have logged into MediaPub using your Oxford Single Sign-on (SSO) you will see your dashboard.

MediaPub Dashboard

Figure 1. MediaPub Dashboard

 

Your dashboard contains two sections. The top section is a horizontal slider of all series of which you are currently a maintainer. Hover over the slider and you will see a scrollbar allowing you to scroll left and right to see all your series. You can also jump to any of your series using the Jump menu in the header of every page.

Figure 2. Series Dashboard

 

Underneath the slider is a paginated list of all podcast episodes in your series, with a description of who authored them. By default these are ordered by most recent, and you can reorder and filter the episodes. From this view, you can quickly see which podcasts have yet to be published/approved by the Educational Media Services team. You can also use the Quick Search box to search for podcasts in your series.

Figure 3. Episodes Dashboard

 

 

Creating a Series

In order to create series on MediaPub, you must first contact podcasts@it.ox.ac.uk and ask to be given the correct permissions. This is a one-off process, and once you have been granted the permissions, you will be able to create as many series as you like. To create a new series, click the Add New Series link in the site header. A list of all your series can be accessed from your dashboard or from the Jump menu in the header of every page.

Jump to a Series
Figure 4.  Jump to a Series

 

To later edit a series title, description or album cover, simply click on the "edit" tab above the series information.

Editing a Series

Figure 5. Editing a Series

 

 

Adding an Episode

Once you have created a series, you can add podcast episodes to the series. On the series page, click the “Create a new episode in this series” link.

Adding new episode

Figure 6. Adding new episode

 

Each episode will have at least one media file associated with it. The file(s) must be stored on a server and have a publicly-accessible URL. Educational Media Services is happy to host your podcast media files. If you require this please, contact us. Alternatively, please upload your media file using Mediapub's "Upload Media File" functionality explained below. 

You can attach up to four media formats to the episode:

  1. Audio files: they should be mp3 (mono, 80kbps is recommended).
  2. Video files: they must be H.264 mp4, around 840kbits/sec, 25fps, 640x360 (16:9) or alternatively 640x480 (4:3).
  3. PDF files: generally used for transcripts or slides
  4. ePub: generally used for ebooks.

In a simple use case you may only upload the mp3 of a talk. For video podcasts, we strongly recommend adding an audio-only mp3 version of the podcast as well for people on a limited-bandwidth connection.

Figure 7. Episode Files

 

If you wish, you can create episodes without media files as “placeholder” episodes and add the media files at a later date. Episodes without media files will not be published in any podcasts until an online file is added to the flaceholder field.

By default, an episode will be unpublished and will not be included in any newsfeeds. The episode will be approved and published by the podcasting team after it has been checked for quality and once we have received a signed release form from each speaker. The latest version of the release form can be downloaded from http://www.ox.ac.uk/itunes_u/contribute.html

Unpublished Episodes

Figure 8. Unpublished Episodes

 

 

Submitting a Media File (audio or video)

As mentioned in the "Adding an episode" section above, each episode can have at least one media file associated with it. The file(s) must be stored on a server and have a publicly-accessible URL.

Educational Media Services is happy to host these files for you. To submit an audio or video file to Educational Media Services, click the "Submit Media File" link in the site header, as seen in the image below:

Unpublished Episodes

Figure 9. Submitting a media file

 

Audio files should be mp3 (mono, 80kbps is recommended), video files must be H.264 mp4 (1280x720p, 1500kbps is recommended). You can also attach PDF or epub document files. PDF files are generally used for transcripts or slides (you can export a PDF of the slides from Powerpoint or Keynote), and epub files are used for ebook.

You may submit only one media file at a time. To submit another file, please submit another media file form. For video podcasts, we strongly recommend adding an audio-only mp3 version of the podcast as well for people on a limited-bandwidth connection. In this case, please submit two media file forms (one for the video, another for the audio-only mp3.

You may submit "edited" or "unedited" files. Unedited files require further editing. Please mark this option on the form if submitting an unedited file. By submitting an unedited file, you are requesting that Educational Media Services complete the editing process of the attached file. If doing so, in the field entitled "File Description & Team Instructions", please describe the file and provide any special instructions to Educational Media Services before submitting the form

Once files have been submitted via the form, the form may not be edited. To re-submit the file with different instructions, or to submit another (or slightly different) media file, please complete an entirely new form with the re-submitted file.

 

 

Adding and Removing Maintainers to a Series

After a series is created, you can add additional maintainers by clicking on the "Maintainers" tab above the series, and then click the "Add maintainer" link.

Series Maintainers

Figure 10. Series Maintainers

 

Start typing the name, SSO or e-mail address to find the maintainer(s) to add. Tick the "admin role" box if you would like the person to have full maintainer rights (in addition to adding new episodes, admins can edit the series information and can edit any existing episodes regardless of who created them). Admin maintainers can also add and remove other maintainers, and edit their roles.

Series Maintainers

Figure 11. Series Maintainers

 

To remove maintainers or to add/remove series admin privileges, click the "Maintainers" tab, then click the "List maintainers" link. This will give you a list of all maintainers. Click the "edit" links to add/remove admin privileges for that maintainer. To remove maintainer(s) from the series, check the box(es) next to the maintainer(s) you would like to remove, and click the "Remove selected maintainers" button at the top.

Series Maintainers

Figure 12. Series Maintainers

 

 

Links to your Series and Episodes

After the items have been approved by the Educational Media Services team, they will be published to the different University publishing channels: podcasts.ox.ac.uk and iTunesU. Additional you can find direct links to the RSS feeds.

Publishing

Figure 13. Publishing

 

Series with at least one approved episode will be automatically added to http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk within 24 hours.

Podcasts.ox.ac.uk Series View

Figure 14. Podcasts.ox.ac.uk Series View

 

Series must be manually created on iTunes U by the Educational Media Services team and so it may take up to 28 days. Once a series has been added to iTunes U, a link to it will be added to the series page. Please get in touch if your series isn't in iTunes U and you think it should be.

iTunesU Series View

Figure 15. iTunesU Series View

 

 

Generating an RSS Newsfeed

RSS newsfeeds are a simple way to get your podcasts into departmental or college websites, and allow people with RSS feed readers to subscribe to your podcasts and receive new episodes as they are added. RSS newsfeeds are generated automatically when episodes are published, and they come in two main flavours - audio feeds (for mp3 audio files) and video feeds (for mp4 video files). Audio and video content is split across separate feeds because iTunes U prefers it this way, and it allows people to subscribe to a lower-bandwidth version of the material if they so wish.

RSS Feeds

Figure 16. RSS Feeds

 

Although mp3/mp4 files make up the standard outputs for these feeds, both audio feeds and video feeds can also contain PDF or ePub document files for transcripts, slides and eBooks. In the vast majority of cases you will only generate audio and/or video feeds. In very rare cases, when you have only document files in the series, you may generate a document-only feed (an example of a document-only feed is Shakespeare's First Folio).

 

 

iTunes U Series Statistics

Apple announced the launch of "iTunes U" in 2007. iTunesU is a format that delivers university lectures through access via its digital content store, iTunes.

On iTunes, there are two ways of listening to or viewing iTunes U audio and/or video content: Downloading and Streaming.

iTunes U provides various kinds of user statistics to member institutions (i.e., Oxford University), and Mediapub imports downloading and streaming data on a quarterly basis (approximately).

Mediapub users can view the monthly iTunes University downloading/streaming data for each of the series they maintain. This data is located in the right-hand lower sidebar for each series. An example is provided below:

RSS Feeds

Figure 17. iTunes U statistics for each series you maintain

 

Downloading and streaming are defined as follows:

Downloading: If a user downloads an audio/video file to a local drive, this counts as one instance of downloading an episode (as part of the series). This should not imply the user actually views/listens to the downloaded audio/video item.

Streaming: If a user, when within iTunes, "streams" the audio/video file, their computer connects to an ongoing audio/video feed (a "stream"). That is, they do not download the audio/video file to a local drive. Streaming is done by pushing "play" within the user's browser (or iTunes application) while the user is connected online. This should not imply the user views/listens to the audio/video content in its entirety.

[Note: Apple's iTunes U did not provide "streaming" data prior to 2012. For this reason, prior to 2012, your series will report zero (0) for streaming data. "Download" data exists from Oct 2008.]

 

 

Embedding Audio/Video Podcasts ("Embed code") into HTML

In order to insert audio and video content into your own site, social media makes use of what are known as "embed codes." Embed codes are small snippets that you can place within HTML content, such as a blog post. They provide a way to insert interactive audio-video content within your own website without having to design a thing. For instance, the following is an embed code taken from the "sharing" section of a YouTube video:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xcwJt4bcnXs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

These codes use iFrame, which is an inline frame that can be copy and pasted inside an HTML page to load an HTML widget inside of it. In the above example, the iFrame tag loads YouTube’s video player with the video ID provided in the code (in this case, xcwJt4bcnXs). It defines other parameters as well, such as height, width, frameborder, etc. The parameters will be used by the script which loads the YouTube video player, and you may change these parameters to suit your case.

Below we provide a screenshot that illustrates where the embed codes can be found on any particular episode found on podcasts.ox.ac.uk. As you can see, the red arrows indicate where to click to generate the embed code. Once this is found, copy the embed code to your clipboard.

RSS Feeds

Figure 18. Embed code links on podcasts.ox.ac.uk

 

Once you have copied the code, you now may paste it into an HTML document. In your content management system (i.e., Drupal, WordPress, HubSpot, etc.), be sure to use the HTML view mode. That is, be sure you are NOT editing in "visual" or "rich text" mode (also known as a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" or WYSIWYG mode). Instead, you want "plain text" or "HTML" mode (i.e., just the HTML editor). The screenshot below illustrates how the Drupal editor is able to toggle between modes. Other CMS's will have a similar feature. If not, please ask your site administrator to help.

RSS Feeds

Figure 19. How to switch to an HTML "plain text editor" (WYSIWYG) using a CMS

 

After clicking on either the HTML button or "disable rich-text" link illustrated above, you may copy your embed code into the HTML page itself, as such:

RSS Feeds

Figure 20. Copying the embed code into an HTML editor

 

When switching back to "visual" or the "rich-text" mode, or after publishing your content by saving the newly inserted embed code, the iFrame snippet that you pasted within your HTML code will appear as the audio-video item itself, as seen below:

RSS Feeds

Figure 21. The embed code interpreted as a media object after publishing the conte

 

If you need more information regarding how to insert embed codes into HTML documents, we can recommend the following tutorial.

A note about iFrames: an iFrame is an HTML document which can be pasted into another HTML document, as described above. A web administrator may change the attributes of the iFrame, such as its height, width, and alignment (see http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_iframe.asp, for more information). iFrames, however, must be used cautiously, and their source must be trusted, given that malicious code may be inserted into iFrame content.  

For this reason, some CMS's, such as WordPress, require the use of external add-ons or plug-in modules that re-enable their otherwise restricted use of iFrame embedding. For instance, to enable iFrames in WordPress, please see https://wordpress.org/plugins/iframe, for more information. 

Drupal allows the use of iFrames, but only if the site administrator has enabled the use of "Full HTML" within the field (usually the body). This can be configured firstly within admin/config/content/formats, and then within individual content types. 

For other CMS's, please visit the documentation for the use of full HTML and/or iFrame embedding. 

 

 

 

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Written by IT Services. Latest revision 25 November 2015