Pop Up’s Archival Audio Starter KitOctober is American Archives Month. In honor, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite collections of archival audio, sorted by topic. Take this chance to explore the wealth of historical audio searchable in Pop Up Archive.Twentieth Century Social Movements
Ethnic Studies Library at UC Berkeley
Illinois Public Media: Features dozens of lectures on civil rights topics recorded in the 1950s and 1960s
The Pacifica Radio Archives, including the collection, “American Women Making History and Culture: 1963-1982” 
UCSF Archives and Special Collections
War and the White House
World War Two Broadcasts: Includes fireside chats from FDR and Winston Churchill speeches
Presidential Recordings: Debates and secret White House recordings 
Oral Histories
World War Two Veteran Oral Histories
The Studs Terkel Digital Archive: Radio legend and oral historian Studs Terkel spent decades interviewing figures from Bob Dylan to Buster Keaton 
Baseball Interviews from the Society of American Baseball Research: Over 500 interviews with every baseball figure you can imagine
Music and the Arts
Pacifica Grammy: Digitized programs of ”The Free Music Store” weekly concert series, and “The Mind’s Eye Theatre,” radio theater shows that aired in the 1960s and 1970s
Other Minds (KPFA): A radio program featuring rare performances by 20th century avant-garde figures like Lou Harrison and Henry Cowell 
The Autry: A Los Angeles history museum holding LA musical performances dating back to 1900
Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life
Wisconsin Thematic Panels Project, 1965-1967 and 1982-1984
Space
NASA audio collection
Together, these collections present hundreds of hours of listening into the past. American Archive Month is the perfect excuse to dive into decades of painstakingly preserved audio.

Pop Up’s Archival Audio Starter Kit

October is American Archives Month. In honor, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite collections of archival audio, sorted by topic. Take this chance to explore the wealth of historical audio searchable in Pop Up Archive.

Twentieth Century Social Movements

War and the White House

Oral Histories

Music and the Arts

Space

Together, these collections present hundreds of hours of listening into the past. American Archive Month is the perfect excuse to dive into decades of painstakingly preserved audio.

Creating audio that fits the web:  
Join Pop Up Archive’s audio search pilot program

“If you posted the most incredible story — literally, the most incredible story that has ever been told since people have had the ability to tell stories, it will never, ever get as many hits as a video of a cat with a moustache.”
- Radio and podcast producer Nate DiMeo as quoted in Stan Alcorn’s “Why Audio Never Goes Viral” (a must-read for audiophiles).

Cat jokes aside, it’s true: audio is at a serious disadvantage when it comes to discovery online. In the digital newsroom, there’s no such thing as off-air. Modern audiences listen on-demand. They’re no longer passive anymore, but rather content scavengers, seeking out and sharing media. So what makes audio so hard to find?
The problem:
Sound is opaque. You can’t picture audio, or skim the words in a recording. Its opacity makes it hard to share — there’s no visual content to latch on to. The text and images added to audio pages are labor intensive to create, and often fail to capture crucial content within audio. 
The fact is, text is the medium of the web. But audio isn’t text. There’s no clear path for audiences to find even the most compelling audio.
The solution:
It’s possible now to deliver audio in ways that are accessible to digital audiences. So let’s prove that digital audio can be shared effectively. By generating automatic transcripts and keyword tags, the content of audio can already be effortlessly searched within Pop Up Archive. Over the next few months, we’re working with select media organizations to take this even further: making spoken-word audio more discoverable, shareable, and monetizable. 
The opportunity:
High-accuracy, speaker-differentiated machine transcripts for bulk quantities of audio - our automatic transcripts are timestamped, and searchable to the second
Content optimized for indexing by search engines, driving more traffic to media pages
Metrics about how Pop Up Archive’s tools affect audience engagement
Revived and expanded reach of evergreen content buried on servers or in website archives
Custom widgets that automatically embed tags, transcripts, and select snippets of audio into partner sites
Click here to learn more about the pilot, or send us an email at founders@popuparchive.com to start a conversation.

Creating audio that fits the web:  

Join Pop Up Archive’s audio search pilot program

“If you posted the most incredible story — literally, the most incredible story that has ever been told since people have had the ability to tell stories, it will never, ever get as many hits as a video of a cat with a moustache.”

- Radio and podcast producer Nate DiMeo as quoted in Stan Alcorn’s “Why Audio Never Goes Viral” (a must-read for audiophiles).

Cat jokes aside, it’s true: audio is at a serious disadvantage when it comes to discovery online. In the digital newsroom, there’s no such thing as off-air. Modern audiences listen on-demand. They’re no longer passive anymore, but rather content scavengers, seeking out and sharing media. So what makes audio so hard to find?

The problem:

Sound is opaque. You can’t picture audio, or skim the words in a recording. Its opacity makes it hard to share — there’s no visual content to latch on to. The text and images added to audio pages are labor intensive to create, and often fail to capture crucial content within audio.

The fact is, text is the medium of the web. But audio isn’t text. There’s no clear path for audiences to find even the most compelling audio.

The solution:

It’s possible now to deliver audio in ways that are accessible to digital audiences. So let’s prove that digital audio can be shared effectively. By generating automatic transcripts and keyword tags, the content of audio can already be effortlessly searched within Pop Up Archive. Over the next few months, we’re working with select media organizations to take this even further: making spoken-word audio more discoverable, shareable, and monetizable. 

The opportunity:

  • High-accuracy, speaker-differentiated machine transcripts for bulk quantities of audio - our automatic transcripts are timestamped, and searchable to the second
  • Content optimized for indexing by search engines, driving more traffic to media pages
  • Metrics about how Pop Up Archive’s tools affect audience engagement
  • Revived and expanded reach of evergreen content buried on servers or in website archives
  • Custom widgets that automatically embed tags, transcripts, and select snippets of audio into partner sites

Click here to learn more about the pilot, or send us an email at founders@popuparchive.com to start a conversation.

Pro Tip: Easy editing in Pop Up Archive’s built-in Transcript Editor

Based on your feedback about our in-transcript editing, we’ve given our editing interface a little makeover. Learn how to edit your automatic transcripts to perfection in our intuitive new editing interface. Speed up your way to a perfect transcript by pausing, rewinding, and jumping around lines in Pop Up Archive’s new edit mode.  

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Step 1: Click “Edit Transcript” to enter the editing workspace.

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Step 2: Click around your transcript to edit any line.

Now try clicking a line of your transcript: It looks just like a text editor. No need to be on the line that’s playing, simply click around your transcript to edit from any point in the text. 
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Step 3: Press play, click a line, and edit as you listen.

Use these simple key commands to pause, rewind, and navigate within your transcript.

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Step 4: We’ll save your changes along the way.

We auto-save all of your changes as you edit, and once you’re finished editing you can go back to the normal play mode by hitting “Save Transcript.” 

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By starting with automatic transcripts and using Pop Up Archive editing tools, you’ll be looking at a complete transcript in record time. And when you’re done, you can search the exact words and phrases from your audio to the second.

Five innovative audio projects: New uses for recorded sound

Today’s wealth of public domain audio and open source tools has inspired many amazing projects in the media space. Here are just a few projects that show some interesting new ways to analyze or reuse audio.

1. Blank on Blank

This animation series by David Gerlach sets out to introduce new audiences to forgotten sounds. By pairing archival interviews with striking minimalist animations, the lost words of figures from Gene Wilder to Fidel Castro become newly relevant. 

2. The Speech Accent Archive

In this project from George Mason University, speakers from around the world are given the same paragraph to read. Each reading is then phonetically transcribed, catalogued, and uploaded to the site.  

3. The Sounds of Google Streetview

Amplifon, a hearing aid company, recently released a project to bring a new level of immersion onto the digital map. An open source project built on the Web Audio API, Sounds of Google Streetview lets you add and explore stereophonic ambient sound from Streetview scenes.

4. HiPSTAS

This NEH-backed project comes out of UT Austin’s School of Information. Originally developed to analyze bird calls, the ambitious project aims to identify and analyze patterns in speech such as pitch, rhythm, and timbre.

5. WikiVIP

Wikipedia’s “Voice Intro Project” is an experimental effort to add voice introductions by public figures onto their own Wikipedia pages. All recordings are released into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Know any projects we forgot? Let us know at founders@popuparchive.com!

Speech Recognition for Media: Rethinking AccuracyAdapted from our post Speech Recognition for Media (PBS Idea Lab)
"How accurate are your automatic transcripts?" It’s one of the most frequently asked questions at Pop Up Archive — and one of the hardest to answer. It’s a fair question, yet it often anticipates an unfair answer: 100% accurate. Media producers want the ease and speed of automatic transcripts and captions, but are often loathe to publish anything short of this mystical percentage. 
The barrier to perfect accuracy: If this is what the people want, why don’t we give it to them? The fact is, machine transcription for media voices is a tricky business: you have to factor in background noise, overlapping speech, and poor audio quality. There’s no way to guarantee accuracy for automatic transcription for audio of ranging quality and content. 
We’d like to pose our own question: do you really need 100% accuracy? To value automatic transcripts only at 100% accuracy is to misunderstand the way the Internet reads text. After all, search engines don’t need perfect transcripts. Neither do producers looking for particular moments in hours of interviews. Harnessed the right way, speech-to-text software means effortless drag-and-drop access to crucial keywords and moments hidden deep within hours of content. 
Toward more searchable transcripts: That said, more accurate text still means more accurate search. Pop Up Archive is accomplishing this through speech-to-text that we target at specific genres of media — for example, news broadcasts, first-person interviews, and archival audio from different decades.
Intrigued? Get a free sample transcript for a short audio file from our new and improved speech-to-text software.
***Email us at founders@popuparchive.com to test the new software with your own audio.***

Speech Recognition for Media: Rethinking Accuracy
Adapted from our post Speech Recognition for Media (PBS Idea Lab)

"How accurate are your automatic transcripts?" It’s one of the most frequently asked questions at Pop Up Archive — and one of the hardest to answer. It’s a fair question, yet it often anticipates an unfair answer: 100% accurate. Media producers want the ease and speed of automatic transcripts and captions, but are often loathe to publish anything short of this mystical percentage. 

The barrier to perfect accuracy: If this is what the people want, why don’t we give it to them? The fact is, machine transcription for media voices is a tricky business: you have to factor in background noise, overlapping speech, and poor audio quality. There’s no way to guarantee accuracy for automatic transcription for audio of ranging quality and content. 

We’d like to pose our own question: do you really need 100% accuracy? To value automatic transcripts only at 100% accuracy is to misunderstand the way the Internet reads text. After all, search engines don’t need perfect transcripts. Neither do producers looking for particular moments in hours of interviews. Harnessed the right way, speech-to-text software means effortless drag-and-drop access to crucial keywords and moments hidden deep within hours of content. 

Toward more searchable transcripts: That said, more accurate text still means more accurate search. Pop Up Archive is accomplishing this through speech-to-text that we target at specific genres of media — for example, news broadcasts, first-person interviews, and archival audio from different decades.

Intrigued? Get a free sample transcript for a short audio file from our new and improved speech-to-text software.

***Email us at founders@popuparchive.com to test the new software with your own audio.***

American Women Making History and Culture (1963-1982)

One of our all time favorite collections comes from the Pacifica Radio Archives: American Women Making History and Culture 1963-1982. As described by Pacifica:

[The recordings follow] the emergence and evolution of the Women’s movement in cities across the United States… as well as the unique role Pacifica Radio played by providing a place for women to create and air programming that communicated the movement.

The complete collection — nearly 1,700 reel-to-reel tapes — is becoming incrementally available as it’s digitized, with funding from NHPRC and completion slated for September 2015.  

Among the incredible voices are Sylvia Plath, Simone de Beauvoir, Yoko Ono, and Anais Nin. Interviews and readings from these eminent women and more are available to stream from Pop Up Archive directly, as well as at the Internet Archive. Take a listen to the digitized audio already available on in Pop Up’s Pacifica Archives collection.

Creating accountability and access for news audio

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Politicians, by trade, speak often and at length. But the news cycle moves fast, and many words are quickly forgotten, or impossible to recover from hours of broadly labeled footage. That’s where we come in: rather than sift through hours of CSPAN video to research what’s been said about a policy, a search in Pop Up Archive takes you to the exact timestamped point of the relevant discussion.  

We’re processing audio for a number of news syndicates. Here are some news collections where you can search political keywords from the public archive:

  • The California Report (KQED): a daily news show for Northern California public media that follows the big issues and policy debates happening all around California.
  • Which Way, L.A.? (KCRW): Southern California’s ”signature local public affairs program” covers not just local news, but also the most pressing national and international affairs.
  • News from Illinois Public Media: featuring top reporting out of NPR, Illinois Public Media, the Associated Press, and more.
  • Crosscurrents (KALW): In-depth local news served up daily through San Francisco Public Radio. 

While we’ve got you covered for radio news, what if you’re looking to search TV news? Thanks to a project from our friends at the Internet Archive, television news footage is more accessible than ever through the TV News Archive. They take media which has already been captioned and make that text searchable to the second.

The age of passive political listening is past. With these tools, you can zone in on your favorite issue with unprecedented acuity.