Digital Toolbox

Variations audio timeliner

Project URL

Site screenshot
Cost and Development Philosophy


Local Installation or Hosted Solution

Local installation


“The Variations Audio Timeliner is an audio annotation and analysis tool for creating and labeling bubble diagrams. These diagrams can be used to navigate music or other audio for detailed study.” (source)

Use on SpokenWeb Project

So far we haven’t use the Variations Audio Timeliner tool on the SpokenWeb project.


There are, however, several aspects of the tool that are interesting from the perspective of a poetry or spoken word archive. The Variations tool allows a user to indicate different sections and sub-sections of an audio recording using colour coded bubbles. The bubbles also serve as navigational aids; clicking on a bubble starts the playback at a particular section of the audio. The tool also allows a user to input time-stamped annotations that display only at the appropriate points during playback.


From the perspective of poetry analysis, the tool (or something like it) could be used as a pedagogical tool, where a professor could use it to share their interpretation of a poem with their students. It could also be used as a social tool for different users or students to share their interpretations of a piece and annotate and mark-up the recording to help explain their individual interpretations.






The Variations Audio Timeliner is an excellent tool for audio annotation and analysis. It’s main limitation, though, is that it needs to be installed locally and is not web-based. A web-based version would certainly increase it’s accessibility.


We are not aware of any poetry projects that use the Variations Audio Timeliner tool.

Future Directions

The future of the Variations project (which is a suite of tools) is dependent on grant funding.