Minutes from Meeting 7- March 17th, 2011

Posted by deanna

Meeting minutes- March 17th, 2011

12:00 – 2:00 pm

Present: Jason Camlot, Annie Murray, Jared Wiercinski, Darren Wershler, Matthieu Trembley and Deanna Fong


-Overview of issues raised at previous meeting re: Soundcloud

-Discussion of current course of action vs. future development

-Models of tethering text to audio: TED Talks and Musical Theatre Online

-Changes to current site/data set


Brief overview of issues with Soundcloud

**For an in-depth discussion of the functionality issues that Jared has raised re: Soundcloud, please refer to the minutes from Meeting #6**

1)      Not sustainable to keep renewing annual fee of 500 Euros for highest-level account

2)      Icons prevent timed comments from being within one minute of each other

3)      Small comment boxes not suited to our type of project—need to scroll through large amounts of text, which hampers readability. Also need two distinct commentary tracks—one for annotation and one for user comments

Discussion of current course of action vs. future development

Two sets of questions at work:

The first set regarding the direction of future development—is it sustainable to build in-house software for our needs? Where to house the large data set that we have? How to better anchor text to audio? Etc.

The second regarding what we can do with what have on-hand—what kind of actual research can we do using the interface that we have? What kinds of questions can we ask of this data?

Future Development

Software development:

-Need to make an inventory of Soundcloud features that need to be cloned, as well as additional features that are tailored to the project’s needs that Soundcloud may not offer.

-Developing clone software: Developer needs to be skilled in Web development, Javascript, html 5 and Flash (Soundcloud’s player is built in Flash). Build around Soundcloud and then have an exit strategy.

-Jason Camlot will write up a one-page call & distribute, and also speak to Jason Lewis to see if he has any candidates in mind

-See how far we can go within WordPress

Housing Data:

Institutional/infrastructural support limits the long-term sustenance of a digital humanities project working with a large data set: we can get grant to develop this project, but not necessarily to sustain its use over a long period of time. What do you do with the project once the research is done?

-Develop a template that can be leant out and shown to other institutions.

-Talk to PennSound- if we develop our own in-house software, can we house it on your site?

-Talk to Concordia Archives about working with them to house materials

-Getting estimates- what we’re using, what we want, time/cost estimate

-writing another grant for investigating on an ongoing basis

Current Course of Action

-For the duration of the grant, pay out for an unlimited Soundcloud account—a cost of 500 euros per year. This way, we can begin to work with the data set as a whole as we continue to ask questions regarding future development.

-Have a brainstorming session with scholars about what we can do with the data set as it exists— Produce and publish a set of papers for journal/website.

-Meta-level of analysis for this project: What does it mean to be doing this kind of work now? What the limits of this kind of framework?

-Over the summer, have grad students working with archives as it exists now to get tangible feedback re: usability of the site as it exists

-Jared will email Soundcloud and ask them to reduce our rate, based on the research nature of the project; a sponsorship of sorts.

Models of tethering text to audio

Two touchstone projects- TED Talks and Music Theatre Online:

-TED Talks’ interactive transcript software as a model- clicking on portions text in the transcript brings the user to bookmarked audio/video.

-Musical Theatre Online- similarly uses text as the anchor, which brings the user to that point in the audio or video.

-Brought in other contextualizing materials- video, images, documents etc.

-Ability to annotate and import/export those annotations

-No waveform on audio player—no sense of track length or position

-For both these sites, text is the primary interface – Clicking text brings you to the file.

-Raises a set of questions re: what is important to our own project? Audio? Text? The length of reading? The length of poem? Is it important to have some sense of spatializing what one is hearing? (i.e. with the presence of the waveform)

– Jared will contact University of Athabasca and Musical Theatre Online

Changes to current site/data set

-Chronological vs. Alphabetical presentation on the site—as it stands now, the readings that have been posted have been put in alphabetical order. Would it make more sense to present them chronologically, or at least to have the option to list entries this way?

-Possibility using hyperlink into the bubble using an html anchor?

-Matt will configure a full text search function, as currently the main bodies of text do not show up in search

-A few publicly available selections will encourage people to come work with the archive—a small subset as the visible face of the archive. The poems themselves are not in the transcripts for logistical reasons- time for transcription, copyright, etc.

-Make a trial set of a few authors containing transcripts of their poems as well as extra-poetic speech: George Bowering and two other living authors, from whom we can get permission.

-Celyn will transcribe the poems as read using Transcrivia software; Deanna will search for print sources of the same poems.


-Survey: Have on the Web for mid-May

-TAToo wordcloud Text Analysis Tool- possible to integrate onto our own site



-email Concordia Archivist eCollections specialist

-write up one-page call & distribute, and also speak to Jason Lewis re: possible candidates


-Using Annie’s spreadsheet, find contacts for survey in public library system

-Find print materials for poems that Celyn will transcribe


– contact University of Athabasca and Musical Theatre Online

– email Soundcloud and ask them to reduce our rate, and also bring up some of the issues we’ve encountered with the software, as it affects our type of work


-transcribe poems using Transcrivia software


-configure a full-text search function

-add survey to site

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