Browse the toolkits of the SpokenWeb project.

Metadata Toolkit

SpokenWeb Metadata Scheme and Cataloguing Process

SpokenWeb Metadata Scheme has been developed by the SpokenWeb Metadata Task Force between September and December 2018. After a period of testing, SpokenWeb Metadata Scheme Version 2.0 has been introduced, read full document here.

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SWALLOW Technology Stack

Emerging from the work of the SpokenWeb Metadata Task ForceSWALLOW is a lean, open-source document-oriented database for ingesting metadata. The primary function of SWALLOW is to provide an easy-to-use audio metadata cataloguing tool for the student-cataloguers across the SpokenWeb partnership. SWALLOW is also capable of dealing with an evolving scheme, such as SpokenWeb Metadata Scheme. The SpokenWeb Scheme has been conceptualized to account for the complexity and richness of literary metadata present in the SpokenWeb-affiliated collections which means that the items from different collections may end up being described using different subsets of the scheme.

SWALLOW is developed by Tomasz Neugebauer and Francisco Berrizbeitia (Concordia University).

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Online Resources


Drift is a highly accurate pitch-tracker prototyped in 2016 by Robert Ochshorn and Max Hawkins. Its further development has been supported by a NEH Digital Humanities Advancement grant and now by SpokenWeb. At UC Davis, undergraduate research assistants Sarah Yuniar and Hannan Waliullah, working with Marit MacArthur and Lee M. Miller, have beautifully improved its functionality and interface.

Drift measures what human listeners perceive as vocal pitch (the fundamental frequency, the vibration of the vocal cords, as measured in hertz) every 10 milliseconds in a given recording, visualizing it in an easy-to-read, horizontally scrolling pitch trace, aligned with the text being read. Drift uses an algorithm developed by Byung Suk Lee and Daniel P. W. Ellis at Columbia University to work with precise accuracy on the noisy, low-quality vocal recordings common in the audio archive. Additionally, Drift incorporates the forced alignment features of Gentle, developed by Robert Ochshorn and Max Hawkins, which aligns a given transcript with an audio file’s pitch trace.

You can learn more about Drift’s latest version in this article on the SPOKENWEBLOG.

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SpokenWeb Audio Archives

SpokenWeb Digital Toolbox

SpokenWeb Oral Literary History Protocol

Written by Dr. Mathieu Aubin and Dr. Deanna Fong, in consultation with COHDS, Montreal Life Stories, and Piyusha Chatterjee, this document provides a general guideline for preparing, conducting, and preserving oral history interviews. It is a living document that evolves as the project changes, taking on new participants, collections, and research over time.

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SpokenWeb Podcasting Resources

SpokenWeb’s Podcast team has put together some incredible resources for creating and transcribing podcasts. They’ve written a podcast creator guide which walks folks through the process of creating a podcast for the SpokenWeb network, compiled a spreadsheet of resources on podcast creation, and developed a style guide for the transcription of podcasts. You can find out more info about these on the SpokenWeb Podcast Resources page.

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