Busy Bees…

Posted by Allison Eades

This week has been very productive. We tested three different versions of SM and began building the database. In addition to this we had important conversations about how to move forward with the clipping, tagging, and indexing of the interviews, and set up guidelines for building that will help ensure that the  eight different interviews we are working on will be represented in the database in similar ways.

On Wednesday we agreed to move forward by clipping the first 30 minutes of our interviews in Question and Answer format (Question 1, Answer 1, Question 2….). I used this format, however given the highly interrogative style of the interview I was working with, I ended up with 13 Q&A clips in the first five minutes. Felling silly making so many clips, and wondering about the value to the user, I wondered what I should do.

On Friday, Erin, Claudia, Stacey and I met to discuss our progress. We spoke about many things including the relevance of clipping interviews in Q&A format. Stacey said she was having difficulty using the Q&A format because of her interviewee’s propensity to speak without questions from the interviewer; she barely had any clips. On Wednesday in response to her case we decided to experiment with the idea of clipping “story shifts” as well. After our conversation we agreed to do a bit of an experiment where some of us would continue clipping in the Q&A format, and others would clip according to theme or other significant markers. Thus I decided that I would sit down and listen to my interview to determine the best clipping pattern.

Given that each interview is unique and influenced by the conversation styles and personalities of both the interviewer and interviewee, I wonder if it means that the clipping patterns for all of our interviews should also be unique. Is there a clipping process that will work for the majority of interviews or should they all be different? It also raises the question of how the personality and preferences of the “clipper” affect the type of clips that are made. Given all of this, how do you try to establish clipping procedures for a project like CURA when you are working with so many different interviewers, interviewees, and clip-makers? What steps do you have to take to make sure that it can be translated into an easily accessible and user-friendly database?

Anyway, these are my thoughts/questions for the week.

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2 Responses to Busy Bees…

  1. petercarrjones says:

    Sounds like everything is going very well now. Will we have a beta version before summer?

    The idea that different “clippers” will come up with styles of clipping is ironic considering digital oral history, by getting rid of transcripts and going directly to the source was supposed to cut out the mistakes and stylistic departures of those turning sound into text. Like the practice of transcribing, standards will need to be created to deal with the varied styles of interviewers and interviewees.

  2. Stacey says:

    Great point Peter. We are hoping to release a beta version of the software by May 2009. Stay tuned!

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