Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sound: #24: The sound of music!

Welcome to iHCPL: the Next Generation!

This first month we will be exploring the theme of sound through four posts. The first post will take a look at music sites and downloading a song. The second post will cover copyright issues and legally burning to CD. Next will be social networking through music. The final post of the month will be a challenge post to create your own podcast. Although we want to encourage everyone who is interested in podcasting to participate, the final post is entirely optional for training hours credit. If you complete the exercises for the first three posts, you will receive two hours of training credit.

So, let's begin.

No matter what type of music you like, there is bound to be a website available to supply your favorite tunes in an electronic format. Many people have been listening to music this way for years and don't think twice about the process of filling up their MP3 player with soundtracks to accompany their workouts, reading time, or their daily office routine. For others just getting started, it can be difficult to know just where to begin.

Pay to Play

There are numerous sites where you can pay a monthly fee or a fee per song and download legally. Some of the most popular sites are Napster, iTunes, Yahoo!, and Rhapsody. Amazon also has a wide variety of MP3 options and allows purchase of individual songs. These sites safely offer the widest variety of popular music -- for a price.

Free and Legal

What can be more free and legal than the public library? As those of you who participated in the original iHCPL will know, HCPL does offer some music through our downloadable media site. What we offer is limited by what is available for library purchase. Sites like music.download.com offer free MP3 downloads, but they are also limited by legal restrictions. Some musicians, like the band Radiohead, are challenging the music industry by offering their music for download at very little cost.

Radio, Anyone?

Many people prefer to listen to the radio through their computer. You are able to listen to local stations, like KRBE, KUHF, or KILT or use a locator site to find a station anywhere in the world. Other radio sites, like Pandora, are exclusively available online.


  1. Look at the different types of pay sites, comparing features and prices.
  2. Download a song to your computer and transfer it to your branch MP3 player (or your MP3 player) from one of the free sites, which don't require software installation. NOTE: If you are at home, feel free to use whatever service you want.
  3. See if your favorite radio station offers listening through their website.
  4. Discuss your findings in a blog post. You can use your blog from the original iHCPL program or create a new one.

This post was brought to you by Linda Stevens, Kathy Knox and Mark Haywood.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Another music site to try - although it doesn't allow downloads - is Songza - The Music Search Engine. It searches the Internet for music and includes many current artists and titles. Music is streamed and play lists can be created, although not saved.