TorahMedia - What is our vision?
Project Genesis and many other organizations have become concerned about the preservation and distribution of the many Torah lectures recorded on audio tapes. With the advance of MP3 digitalization and the accessibility of the internet, the solution was found. Many Torah institutions offer streaming and downloading of lectures from their own websites. Our vision is to make ALL the Torah audio libraries accessible and searchable in ONE place. Through our site you can link to all of these libraries or you can listen right here.
Comprehensive - What do we have? How do we get it? How you can add to our library?
At present, TorahMedia has 22,843 files to stream and download. These lectures have been gathered from throughout the world. Some of them are from web sites. Some of them are from Rabbis' or organizations' archival collections. MANY of them are live lectures recorded just last week! Organizations have the option of "uploading" or adding lectures to our system by themselves or sending us CDs which we transfer to MP3 files for them at no charge. However, we're constantly looking for new material. We believe we've just scratched the surface in finding precious archival information.
- Do you have a hard-to-find lecture?
- Do you have a tape library of your own?
- Do you know someone who has tapes of Rav Aaron Kotler, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky or other gedolim (Torah luminaries)?
- Do you have a favorite lecture that you think should be preserved?
Those tapes are degrading and losing quality as you read. We can archive those tapes for posterity!
Even if you only want to make a small number of your recordings available for use, don't worry. We'll archive all of them, free of charge. Give us a call at 410-602-1350 x122 or send an email to our Acquisitions Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your name and some information about the lectures you have and we'll work with you.
Lending - How does lending work on the internet?
At the heart of our service is the Torah tape "lending library". For only $9.95 a month you may "take out" or download up to 15 audio files at a time, with a total of 50 downloads a day. This is where the lending library concept comes in. You can use the 15 audio files as long as you like, but you cannot take more unless you "return" the ones you have. These lectures must be "returned" in the form of erasing them before you take more. We use the honor system trusting you when you tell us you have erased them. At any given time you may only have 15 audio files in your possession (on your computer's hard drive, mp3 player, or on another storage device). You can download and return the audio files until your downloads for the day total 50.
What is MP3?
MP3 has become the commonly used expression for the conversion and compression process that allows audio and video files to be transferred over the internet. These files take up much less space than the songs on a CD player. For example a 4-minute song will use up 40 megabytes of space. This will take up 1/20 of the space on your CD. Therefore CD's that you buy usually don't have more than 20 songs. But when the same song or lecture is compressed into MP3 form it will use only 4 megabytes or only 1/200th of the CD space. This makes it possible to easily store and quickly download many classes.
Formats - There are three kinds of file formats in our library, a general MP3 file and files encoded using RealMedia or WindowsMedia. The MP3 file type works on virtually all audio software, all MP3 players and is the easiest to use. For that reason all lectures that WE upload here at TorahMedia are MP3 files. Our lecturers, however, can choose in which format to use in recording their files. This is indicated in the file details under "file type." Unfortunately, files that are encoded (recorded) in RealMedia or WindowsMedia formats are not compatible with one another. Fortunately either player can play MP3's. The good news is that most computers have enough space to have both programs. Learn more about free software by clicking our Help button. See What kind of computer and software do I need to use TorahMedia? to learn how to get these programs free of charge.
Portable Players - Many people who start collecting MP3 files find that they want to listen to them in all kinds of places. Small, portable MP3 players answer this need. These players are like portable cassette players except that they are smaller, many are smaller than a cell phone.
These players plug into your computer's parallel, FireWire or USB port to transfer the data, and a software application lets you transfer your MP3s into the player by simply dragging the files.
These players come in all shapes, sizes and yes colors! Prices range from $50 to $600.
You can learn Torah while you hike, work out, drive or run the vacuum cleaner with a pocket size player and small earphones. Please note that files recorded on RealMedia cannot be played on an MP3 player. If you want to play WindowsMedia files, you will need to make sure that your MP3 player has that capacity before you buy it.
Bandwidth and file size - Another important fact to understand about MP3 files is that they can be recorded in different bandwidths to produce different sounding and performing files. Recording at a low bandwidth produces smaller files with a telephone-like quality. Recording at a high bandwidth produces a fairly large file with much higher sound fidelity. The smaller the file, the more quickly it streams or downloads.
You will note that some of our lectures are offered with a choice about which bandwidth to download or stream. If you have a fairly slow connection or older computer, we recommend that you use the lower bandwidth in order to avoid a long delay on downloads. Higher bandwidth will give you a better sound quality but will take a longer amount of time to download. However, please be aware that many of the archival classes in our database were NOT recorded with professional equipment. In these cases you may not notice a significant difference when you download at the higher bandwidth. The file only reproduces as much quality as there is in the original recording.
What is Streaming?
Streaming is playing sound in "real time" as it is downloaded over the internet as opposed to storing it in your computer first. A plug-in to a web browser such as Netscape Navigator, Windows Media or RealMedia decompresses and plays the data as it is transferred to your computer over the WorldWide Web. Streaming audio avoids the delay entailed in downloading an entire file and then playing it with a helper application. If you have a dial-up connection or a slow computer SOME of our files will not stream. The files that are most likely to work for you are the ones recorded at a low bandwidth. Many of our files offer a choice.
What is Downloading?
Download means to transfer a file through a modem from the internet to your computer. When you download you are moving encoded data from a large bank of information to a smaller system such as your computer or other specialized equipment for playing computer audio files. After you've downloaded, there is a complete copy of that file or lecture on your computer. You can use that file to burn a CD. You can also download directly to portable device such as an MP3 player.
At TorahMedia you can download up to fifty lecture files a day. You can enjoy daily Torah inspiration at your computer or on your MP3 player!
What kind of computer equipment and software do I need to use TorahMedia?
Most computers today have speakers and the ability to play audio that is sent through your modem to your computer over the internet
Internet connection.- To receive these lectures you will need an internet connection. A faster connection, such as a Comcast's High Speed Cable connection the connection will give you faster downloads and a quicker start on streaming.
Browser - Some internet services will offer a built-in browser. Netscape offers a free browser that can be downloaded. Internet browser requirements include Internet Explorer version 5 or newer, Netscape 4.7 or newer, all versions of Mozilla and Firefox, and AOL 6.0 or newer. Any browser that can be used with a high-speed connection will work for downloading lectures.
Computer - In order to stream and download there are some basic requirements your computer must meet. Your computer must be Windows 98 or above or Mac OS 9 or above. The computer must have a sound card and speakers for the computer. If your computer has speakers, it has a sound card. Most computers are sold with all of this completely built in, including software to play audio files.
Players - (software) Most new computers come with an MP3 playing software built in. A simple way to find out if you have a player built in is to click on our Try Torah Media button, click listen now on one of the titles and see what happens! If you don't have it,
RealPlayer and Windows Media Player are MP3 players that are available to download free.
To play Real Media files, download RealPlayer from www.realplayer.com
To play Windows Media files, download Windows Media Player from www.windowsmedia.com/download
How to Play - When you start streaming or downloading, the audio interface page from your software, such as RealPlayer or WindowsMedia, will come up on your computer and will allow you to open the file. The buttons on these players will allow you to start, stop, change volume and quickly advance or replay the file. Remember that SOME files will be able to play ONLY on one or the other player. This is indicated in the file details under "file type."
Where do my membership dollars go?
Many of the speakers who have given us their lectures receive needed income from their tape sales. And, of course, Jewish organizations that employ these speakers can always use a little help. A portion of the membership funds goes toward maintaining the site that was created with charitable support by Project Genesis. The balance of your membership dollars go DIRECTLY to the speaker to whom you are listening. Since we are able to track exactly how many times each lecture is used, they receive support based on the popularity of their lectures.
How does the honor system work?
For only $9.95 a month, every day, you may "take out" or download 15 audio files. BEFORE you take out more audio files, we ask that you "return" or delete the files you have out from your system.
With a traditional library, you return a physical object like a book or a tape. In our library since the files are electronic, you cannot "return" them. Returning the files to TorahMedia means to ERASE them. If you have downloaded the files directly to an MP3 player, erasing the files will make room for more. If you downloaded the files to your computer, you need to search your hard drive for the location of the file and delete it. Most computers will offer a delete option when you highlight the file in the file menu; right click the mouse and choose delete. If you have copied it to your computer and then burned it to a CD, you need to erase the file from both places. When you return to borrow additional files, you can click on the borrowed files to indicate which ones you have erased or "returned."
We trust our members and we know you will behave honorably. This site has been created with charitable funds in order to spread Torah. Each download provides the speaker with income credits. Please respect our efforts and the speakers we represent
Can I share my lectures with friends or copy them to a CD?
MP3 files are easy to share, but remember the honor system. If you let a friend "borrow" a lecture ask them to erase it when they are finished. Encourage them to get their own membership! If you burn a lecture to a CD or download to an MP3 player, we ask that you erase it when you are finished.
What is Project Genesis?
Project Genesis is the information technology (IT) department for the Jewish outreach community. Project Genesis promotes further Jewish education about our Jewish roots, as represented in Jewish sources. We believe that text study is the best way to restore self-respect, self-confidence and Jewish identity worldwide.
Project Genesis has found great success with its network of "on-line classes" -- a unique program in Jewish studies offered on the Internet. Currently over 40 classes are distributed weekly FREE OF CHARGE to 55,000 subscribers worldwide.
Check us out on www.torah.org
Haven't seen the answer to your question yet?
Please send us an email with your question to feedback @ torahmedia.com. Please include your screen name so we can view/correct your membership information.