Zoom H2 makes very high quality audio recording portable and reasonable, even affordable at around US $130.
WAV ("wave") files use a lot of memory and are very high quality.
MP3 files use less memory and sound good.
WMA files are small and sound good.
AAC files are also small and sound good.
FLAC files are high quality, and are not proprietary.
Ogg Vorbis files are also high quality and not proprietary, but may be smaller than FLAC files.
Audacity is a solid and effective open source tool for editing, processing and converting audio files.
VLC is a solid and effective open source tool for playing audio and video files.
Internet Archive is a great place to store audio and make it available on the web.
YouTube can be used to store and distribute audio, but only as part of a video.