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. 

Some of the faces of modern podcasting.

Top left: Roman Mars (99% Invisible), top right: State of the Re:Union team (SOTRU), middle left: Glynn Washington (Snap Judgment), middle right: The Kitchen Sisters (Hidden Kitchens, Fugitive Waves), bottom left: Ashley Milne-Tyte (The Broad Experience), bottom right: Jesse Thorn (Bullseye)

As much as we love archival audio, it’s not just sound from forgotten reels and cassettes that get uploaded to the site. New, “born digital” radio programs and podcasts get indexed in Pop Up Archive every day. Thanks to our partnership with PRX, you can search the entirety of all seven shows from the Radiotopia collective, such as 99% Invisible, Radio Diaries, and Theory of Everything — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re making modern radio stories just as easy to search as the audio we process from archives and historical societies.

If you haven’t already, dive into our Explore page to get a taste for yourself, where you can sort audio by Interviewee, Interviewer, and Collection, and more. 

Explore our public archive.

A Pop Up Archive Guide for KCRW’s #Radio Race contestants!

This post is a special guide for contestants of KCRW’s Radio Race. For more support, consult our full FAQ, or shoot us a question at edison@popuparchive.com image

What is this “Radio Race,” and what does Pop Up Archive have to do with it?

This Saturday, KCRW’s Independent Producer Project is hosting its 2nd Annual Radio Race

KCRW’s 24-Hour Radio Race is a whirlwind day of high-stakes radio making for producers of any experience level. Radio makers from all over the world will have 24 HOURS to write, record, and edit a nonfiction radio story. On Saturday, August 2nd, at 10AM PT, contestants will be emailed a THEME. They will then have 24 hours to create a story that somehow relates to this theme. By Sunday August 3rd at 10AM PT, their finished piece must be posted on Soundcloud for judging.

With only 24 hours to complete a finished piece, the last thing anyone wants to do is transcribe from scratch. That’s why we’re offering exclusive access to our auto-transcription toolkit. Use Pop Up Archive to help craft your Radio Race stories, and receive one full month of uploads for free! Email us at edison@popuparchive.com with the subject line “Pop Up Radio Race” to redeem your free month of access.

Just be sure to grab your $10 ticket before the clock starts on Saturday. Read more about this collaboration on the Independent Producer Project blog.

READ ON FOR OUR GUIDE TO THE POP UP ESSENTIALS:

Read More

Announcing our NEH Grant: Pop Up Archive keeps on growing with PRX  

Pop Up Archive is thrilled and honored to be among the recipients of $34 million in grant funding announced by the National Endowment for the Humanities last week. Together with our incredible partners at the Public Radio Exchange, Pop Up Archive received one of seven Digital Humanities Implementation Grants. The grant is a follow-on to a Digital Humanities Start Up Grant received in 2013 in collaboration with The Kitchen Sisters.

Also, big congratulations to our friends at WFMT Chicago and the Complete Studs Terkel Digital Archive, who were also awarded an NEH grant last week to support the development of their archive of broadcasts from Chicago radio legend Studs Terkel. Get ready for a delightful onslaught of archival audio gems: Terkel’s complete archive adds up to over 5,000 recordings!

We can’t wait to make these recordings — and many other historic voices — discoverable, and we’re grateful to have the generous support of the NEH and an awesome partnership with PRX. In short, we’re thrilled to keep building Pop Up Archive for you!

Thanks for sticking with us. Watch out for the exciting things we’ve got in the works.

Digital doesn’t mean permanent: Using the Internet Archive to protect against “erase all”  

To many, the effort to preserve audio files ends at digitization. After all, a physical object — like a record or even CD — decays. A string of data on your computer doesn’t. But what if you delete the string? What if the computer breaks? The truth is, managing digital files comes with its own set of risks.

As we transition into an all-digital media landscape, digital materials can be even more prone to loss than physical recordings. “Born digital” files can easily be lost irretrievably. Whether a destructive coffee spill or an overzealous hard drive purge, it’s disturbingly easy to lose the source files for your audio. 

So how do you protect your most precious audio files? Enter, the Internet Archive: The Internet Archive (archive.org) is an Internet library based in San Francisco. It was created with the mission of preserving materials on the web for generations to come, even in the face of rapidly changing file standards and operating systems. In addition to public domain books, films, and other digital media, they also store hundreds of thousands of hours of audio. And with Pop Up Archive, you can easily contribute your collection to their growing library.

Pop Up Archive lets you preserve audio on Internet Archive servers in just one click. Simply select the Internet Archive option while creating a Pop Up Archive collection, and a copy of each audio item page will be “filed” at the Internet Archive — ensuring that your most valuable recordings become part of the public record.

"I am prepared to die"
These were Nelson Mandela’s words while on trial in 1964. Yet Mandela’s infamous speech was almost lost to history: 

As described by Radio Diaries in “Mandela: An Audio History,” the original Dictabelt courthouse recording was left collecting dust in a basement of the South African Broadcasting Corporation until a researcher unearthed it, many years later. Another powerful reminder of the need for better audio access, if we don’t say so ourselves!

"I am prepared to die"

These were Nelson Mandela’s words while on trial in 1964. Yet Mandela’s infamous speech was almost lost to history:

As described by Radio Diaries in “Mandela: An Audio History,” the original Dictabelt courthouse recording was left collecting dust in a basement of the South African Broadcasting Corporation until a researcher unearthed it, many years later. Another powerful reminder of the need for better audio access, if we don’t say so ourselves!

Guided by Digital Voices


5 unexpected insights from automatic speech recognition

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Pop Up Archive has been hard at work implementing new speech recognition software for our partners at organizations like NPR, StoryCorps, and the Hoover Institution. The result of this work means better auto-transcripts, and better auto-transcripts mean better access into hours upon hours of spoken content locked in digital audio.

Along the way, we’ve learned some surprising things about the state of automatic speech recognition. Here’s our crash course in the workings of speech-to-text software:

1. Speech-to-text software learns language like people do.

All automatic speech recognition software learns from whatever data it’s given. So, like a person, the more “well-read” your software is in a particular area, the more it will understand.

2. The human standard for perfect transcription is being questioned.

The gold standard for transcripts has always been human transcription. But as machine learning gets better, a human transcriber won’t necessarily transcribe more accurately than a computer for unfamiliar dialects. Speech-to-text software is trained on many voices, so it can interpret dialects from all over the world. Check out this 2011 Google Tech Talk on “Superhuman speech recognition.

3. Speaking clearly can make you harder to understand.

Since most speech software is trained on naturalistic pronunciations — that is, how you would say a word in a real conversation — speakers that over-articulate may not be properly understood. For example, to clearly pronounce the “t”s in “butter” would go against the Standard American English pronunciation, which is closer to a “d” sound.

4. Not all vocabularies are created equal.

When you create a language model, it’s not just the number of words in the model that contributes to accuracy - it’s how well their distribution matches those of the content. 

5. We’ve only scratched the surface. 

Speaker recognition. Accurate punctuation. Comprehensive geographical and biographical knowledge….

All of these features are not only possible in automatic speech recognition, but will soon be on their way into your own Pop Up Archive auto-transcripts. As we integrate the new software into Pop Up Archive over the next few months, you’ll see  major improvements to our automatic transcription and editing tools. We’ll keep you posted as our new features become available!

hackersofsv:

"What got us into this are the voices themselves, hearing this amazing World War II broadcaster from 1945 and realizing that is how Americans experienced their world then. We’re constantly looking back on our pasts, reflecting on milestones in our collective history.We have so much text-based history in books and proceedings, but recorded sound has been around for 100 years now and there is still no reliable way to search and access it. You still can’t see inside and search through an MP3. Well, until now.”Anne Wootton | Pop Up Archive: Search engine for sound.

Thanks to Dani for this lovely feature of Anne, Pop Up Archive co-founder. We have now officially been deemed “Hackers of Silicon Valley.” Read more of her insightful profiles at Hackers of Silicon Valley.

hackersofsv:

"What got us into this are the voices themselves, hearing this amazing World War II broadcaster from 1945 and realizing that is how Americans experienced their world then. We’re constantly looking back on our pasts, reflecting on milestones in our collective history.

We have so much text-based history in books and proceedings, but recorded sound has been around for 100 years now and there is still no reliable way to search and access it. You still can’t see inside and search through an MP3. Well, until now.”

Anne Wootton | Pop Up Archive: Search engine for sound.

Thanks to Dani for this lovely feature of Anne, Pop Up Archive co-founder. We have now officially been deemed “Hackers of Silicon Valley.” Read more of her insightful profiles at Hackers of Silicon Valley.