Most journalists have experienced a variation of the “obituary scenario” at one time or another.
You’re a radio station producer covering the death of a local politician, and you remember interviewing the deceased two years before. He was funny. He was engaging. It would be the perfect audio to accompany the obituary you are writing.
By Michael O’Connell
But where is the file?
“There’s a radio station in New Hampshire that we talked to, but it could really be anywhere cause it’s a classic scenario, the obituary scenario,” said Anne Wootton. “And they knew that they had the audio of a particular senator sitting in the station somewhere, but because of the staff turnover that they’ve had, they lacked that institutional memory. They lacked that path back to that audio and had no way of searching for it.”
Wootton and Bailey Smith believe they have come up with a practical solution to the “obituary scenario.”
“Pop Up Archive is a Web application that makes audio searchable, leveraging technology for automated transcription and entity extraction and, as a result, making that audio accessible to many more people than ever before,” said Wootton, who met Smith when they were graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley’s Information School.
“Anyone using Pop Up Archive has the option of adding one or multiple audio files and organizing those files in sort of buckets or collections through which they can track certain projects,” Wootton said. “But whether or not they choose to organize, there is metadata that’s already automatically created and that’s what really makes the audio searchable. And that does include the transcriptions.”
|Read a transcript of our interview with Anne Wootton & Bailey Smith of Pop Up Archive.|