This year, SpokenWeb was invited to present a poster as part of Society for Digital Humanities/ Société pour l’étude des médias interactifs’ annual conference in May of 2012 at Wilfred Laurier University. The session comprised nine poster presentations on recently funded DH projects, with a brief two-minute presentation on each poster, followed by a info session where conference participants could walk around and ask questions.
In my two-minute introduction of our poster (titled “SpokenWeb: Developing a Comprehensive Web-based Digital Spoken Word Archive for Literary Research”), I outlined some of the key research questions we’ve been engaging with on both literary and design axes, and gave a brief timeline of the project from the digitization of the analog recordings, to the transcription of extrapoetic speech + time-stamping of poems in the pdf catalogue, to finally the integration of this content into a web-based DSWA.
Of all the posters presented at the conference, SpokenWeb was the only audio-based DH project–most projects were in some form using text as their primary material. Many of these, however, were engaged with the same questions of copyright and fair dealing, such as ArtMob and Carolyn Guertin’s Digital Prohibition: Piracy and Authorship in New Media Art. The most frequently asked questions were: 1) Is the site open-source? 2) Who do you envision using the website? 3) Why did you develop the site in WordPress? Have you looked into other content management systems? In response to the first question, there seemed to be a lot of interest in potentially using SpokenWeb as a template for other audio collections, whether for literary or oral history recordings. Many people mentioned other analog holdings at their institutions in various states–hopefully more of these will come out of the woodwork as people begin to look at the site. As for the CMS question, a few people suggested Omeka as an audio-friendly option. I mentioned that a side-by-side comparison of different CMS’s is something that we will be looking into in year one of the grant.
We provided cards with the web address printed on them (very beautifully designed by Taylan Ulgar, attached below) and invited people to have a look at the site and comment, as well as follow our development as we answer some of the weightier research questions during the IG-funded phase of the project.