Blogging and Podcasting Terms

Below are common terms, phrases and definitions relating to blogging and podcasting. Blogs and podcasts are delivered (consumed) through the internet — it would be valuable to visit the Web Terms page for more information about terms relating to the web.

Aggregator – A website or software program that gathers (aggregates) and displays web content, such as news headlines, blogs and podcasts, from multiple websites to a single location. It allows searches by keyword and provides summaries for browsing. It uses RSS or other types of feeds to find the content and allows subscribing to feeds, enabling new content to be automatically downloaded when it is available. Also known as a feed reader.

Blog – Short for weblog, a blog is a self-published website containing articles or posts of any kind of content, including text, pictures, video/audio and links. It is usually organized by date and keywords, and allows comments from visitors or readers. It can be subscribed to using an aggregator.

Blogosphere – The world of blogging and bloggers.

Blogroll – A list of websites (other blogs) located in the sidebar(s) of a blog (the column on the left or right side of a blog). These other blogs can be those that the author of the blog (blogger) reads or promotes.

Directory – A listing of podcasts or blogs; can be located on a website or in a software program.

Evergreen – Term used to describe content that is not dated. Many podcasts cover materials that are not dated ensuring the relevance of the information lasts indefinitely.

Feed – An XML-formatted file that specifies information and items contained in a blog or podcast and allows users to subscribe to that blog or podcast to read, view or listen to it without visiting the website where it is located. Aggregators such as Apple Podcasts look for and gather feeds so users can view, play and subscribe to them. It is usually helpful to view the source of the feed in an Internet browser to see what information it contains. It can contain many different pieces of information, based on what XML specification it uses. Basically, it contains opening and closing ‘tags,’ which surround some text or other tags that define or describe the tag. For example, <title>This is my simple title</title> would specify a title.

Atom – A format or specification of the XML language used to create feeds for consumption by users. An alternate format is RSS.

Channel – A tag in the feed that contains the contents of the feed, including basic information and the content items.

Enclosure – A tag in the feed that specifies a multimedia file (such as those used in podcasts) that is associated with an item in the feed. Usually, it just contains a link or URL to where the media file is located, which is where an aggregator can go to download it.

Item – A single entry in a feed. In podcasts, the item will contain an enclosure for the media file. Other attributes are title, author and category.

OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) – An XML format for outlining. It has been used to create a special type of feed that actually contains a list of URLs of other feeds. This OPML file can be used to transfer a list of feeds between aggregators.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication – A format or specification of XML used to create feeds for consumption by users. RSS 2.0 is the latest version used commonly. An alternate format is Atom.

XML – eXtensible Markup Language. The text format of feeds.

Feed Reader – See Aggregator.

Mashups – A web service or tool that programmers develop by combining two or more tools to create a new service or tool.

News Reader – See Aggregator.

Ping – (Packed Internet Grouper, Packed Internet Gopher) – An automatic notification sent when a blog has been updated.

Podcast – A multimedia file (audio or video) that is part of a feed. When the author publishes a new podcast, anyone who is subscribed to the feed using an aggregator will get the file automatically downloaded. The feed can be thought of as the series of podcasts that have been published. Some refer to the whole feed as the podcast. The word podcast comes from Apple’s iPod and the word “broadcast.” Podcasts can be thought of as files that are broadcast to and viewed by its subscribers.

Podcatcher – See Aggregator.

PodFade – Used to describe when a podcast begins to have longer and longer gaps between shows until it eventually disappears. The term is now used to describe any show that has ceased production, even without any actual “fade.”

Post – An article of content published on the internet in a blog or forum.

Trackback – A feature in some blog software that allows a blogger to automatically determine who has seen a post and written another post that concerns it. A trackback is one of three types of linkbacks, in which web authors request notification when others link to their articles. The other types of linkbacks are pingbacks and refbacks. The word trackback is also used to refer to any linkback.