Stories Matter Instruction Manual

 

STORIES MATTER, Phase II

Instructional Manual

The Stories Matter Instruction Manual was written by:
Erin Jesse (2010)
and edited to include subsequent releases by:
Kimberley Moore (2012)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Starting Stories Matter
3.0 Creating and Editing a Project
3.1 Creating a New Project
3.2 Browsing Existing Projects
3.3 Editing or Deleting an Existing Project
4.0 Creating and Editing an Interviewee
4.1 Creating a new Interviewee
4.2 Browsing Interviewees
4.3 Editing or Deleting an Existing Interviewee
4.4 Interviewee Spaces
4.5 Duplicating an Interviewee
4.6 Relocating and Interviewee Within the Database
5.0 Creating and Editing a Session
5.1 Creating a New Session
5.2 Browsing a Session
5.3 Deleting or Editing Sessions
5.4 Session Spaces
5.5 Duplicating a Session
5.6 Relocating a Session Within the Database
6.0 Creating, Editing and Exporting Clips
6.1 Creating a Clip
6.2 Editing or Deleting Existing Clips
6.3 Exporting Clips
6.4 The Clip List
6.5 Clip Spaces
6.6 Relocating Clips
7.0 Online Functionality
7.1 Accessing Stories Matter Online
7.2 The Merge Tool
8.0 Additional Features
8.1 Playlists
8.2 The Tag Cloud
8.3 Additional Database Tools
8.4 Search
9.0 Conclusion

1.0 Introduction

Stories Matter is a new oral history database tool built for oral historians by oral historians, as an alternative to transcription. This free, open source software allows for the archiving of digital video and audio materials, enabling oral historians to annotate, analyze, and evaluate materials in their collections.

In its present form, Stories Matter is intended to allow oral historians and other interested communities to interact with audio and video recordings of interviews in a way that emphasizes individual interviewees as central to stories being narrated. In addition to interacting with whole sessions, users will be able to create clips according to personal criteria, and then create personalized playlists of clips that speak to specific themes. A convenient search tool allows users to locate clips, sessions, interviews, and projects that speak to their particular interests. Users can export the results of their work in several different formats for easy use in presentations, and website design. Finally, a new feature of Stories Matter, Phase II is online functionality, which allows multiple users to collaborate on building a single database according to their assigned user roles.

2.0 Starting Stories Matter

Upon starting Stories Matter, the following interface appears:

Figure 2.1: Stories Matter Interface

Beginning with the icons near the upper left hand corner of the screen, users have a number of options at their disposal.

Figure 2.2: Home, Search, Export, User Preferences, and Help icons

First is the Home icon, which allows users to return to the project listing at any point in the project. The second option is the Search icon, which allows the user to perform text searches within any existing projects, interviews, sessions, and clips. The third option is Export option, which allows the user to export the contents of the existing database to PowerPoint presentations or html documents. The fourth icon of a person, allows the user to work with Stories Matter in either French or English, in accordance with their User Preferences. Finally, the fifth icon leads to the Help menu and is intended to provide users with basic information on how to use the software.

Another important feature is the project browser, located along the left hand side of Stories Matter, which allows users to view the entire contents of the database in a single window.

Figure 2.3: Project Browser

The project browser continues to grow as database building continues.  It provides a quick way to move between projects, interviews, sessions and even clips.

3.0 Creating and Editing a Project

The structure of the Stories Matter interface is best understood in layers, beginning with the project layer. A project can encapsulate interviewees, sessions, clips and playlists, depending on the needs of the user.

3.1 Creating a New Project

To begin building your database, select new project from the options located at the bottom of the project list (see 3.3 for image).

The following window will appear:

Figure 3.1.2: Project Editor

At this point, users need to enter information into four different spaces. The first space requires that the user give their new project a name. Secondly, they are to  fill in a short description of their project, which will later appear on the starting page of Stories Matter in the project list. In the third section, the user must enter a more thorough description of the project, which will be displayed on the right hand side of the project list. Once all these entries are completed, the user should load a relevant image for the project. Finally, the user should decide whether this project should be made visible to collaborators who have access to the database server. If multiple people will need to be able to view and edit this project, select the project is public. If not, leave this box blank, and the project will remain hidden from others when working online.

Once these steps have been completed, the user should select save project, at which point the Project Editor window will close and the user will see their new project added to the previously empty project list. Selecting cancel will close the window without creating a new project.

Figure 3.1.3: Project List

3.2 Browsing Existing Projects

In instances where several projects are listed, users can browse the general contents of individual projects quickly by clicking once on the project image or on the brief description shown in the project list. This function will allow users to view a detailed description of the different projects in the space to the right.

Figure 3.2.2: Viewing Project Summaries

3.3 Editing or Deleting an Existing Project

To edit or delete a project once it has been created, users can select the relevant option from the optionsappearing along the bottom of the project list.

Figure 3.3.1: Project Options

Please note: selecting delete project will delete all interviewees, sessions, and clips within the project, as well as all associated notes.

4.0 Creating and Editing an Interviewee

Once you have selected a project, double-click on the project image or brief description that appears in the project list. This will access the interviewee list. The following interface will appear:

Figure 4.0.1: Interviewee List

4.1 Creating a New Interviewee

To create a new interviewee, select new interview from the bottom of the interviewee list. The following window will be displayed:

The user will be prompted to provide an interviewee name and interviewee description, as in the case of creating a new project. At this point, the user can also choose to upload an image representing the interviewee. Once completed, select save interviewee to add the new interviewee to the interviewee list.

4.2 Browsing Interviewees

In instances where several interviewees are listed, users can browse by clicking once on the project image or brief description shown in the project list. This function will allow users to view a detailed description of the different projects in the window to the right.

Figure 4.2.1: Browsing Interviewees

4.3 Editing or Deleting an Existing Interviewee

Clicking once on an interviewee icon or short description will allow the user to view the options necessary for editing or deleting an interviewee.

 

Figure 4.3.1: Interviewee Level Options

Please note: selecting delete interviewee will delete all sessions and clips attributed to that interviewee, as well as all associated notes.

4.4 Interviewee Spaces

Double-clicking on an interviewee will allow the user to begin adding information related to the interviewee. The following interface will appear:

 

Figure 4.4.1: Interviewee Level

 

At this point, several spaces appear that require the user to input information about the interviewee. Of primary importance is the intervieweespace, which allows the user to see key information related to the context of the interviewee, such as a brief summary of the subjects discussed, the biographical information of the interviewee, and any relevant index terms.

 

Figure 4.4.2: Interviewee Level Spaces

The summary field is intended to provide users with a brief description of the contents of the interview. Users can also enter comma-separated tags, called index terms. These tags serve two purposes: they are referenced when users search for specific topics, events, and places, for example, and they will be used to generate a tag cloud that will highlight key themes within and among projects.

The tabs located along the bottom of the interviewee space allow the user to add additional information related to their reflections on the interviewee and any important meta-narrative features that might be present.

Figure 4.4.3: Interviewee Tabs

The reflections space allows users to comment on their experiences of conducting or listening to interviews with a particular interviewee. The options located along the bottom of the interviewee space allow the user to add additional information related to their reflections on the interviewee and any important meta-narrative features that might be present.

Figure 4.4.3: Reflection Tab/Space

The meta-narrative space allows users to comment on displays of emotion or interesting body language that they find relevant to the issues being discussed.

Figure 4.4.5: Meta Narrative Tab

Users can also record interviewee biographic information in the upper right hand corner of the interviewee space.

 

Figure 4.4.6: Interviewee Biographical Information

 

Finally, users can record interviewee notes in the bottom right hand corner of the interviewee space.

Figure 4.4.7: Interviewee Notes

4.5 Duplicating an Interviewee

To create a copy of an interviewee, select an interviewee from the Interviewee List (Figure 4.0.1) by clicking on it once. From the interviewee options (Figure 4.4.3) choose Duplicate Interviewee. You can rename the Interview, or label it a copy, when you see the following window appear.

Figure 4.5: Duplicate Interviewee Dialogue Box

Once you have clicked ok, the interviewee will be copied in full (including all sessions, clips, and spaces) and saved within the projects list.

4.6 Relocating Interviewees within the Database

It is possible to migrate an interviewee from one Project location to another within the database. To do so, select the interviewee from the Interviewee List (Figure 4.0.1) by clicking it once. From the Interviewee Options (Figure 4.4.3). From the Interviewee Options, select Edit Interviewee. Adjacent to the Project field, expand the drop-down list, and choose the project where you wish to relocate the interviewee.

Figure 4.6: Relocating an Interviewee within the Database – drop-down list

Please Note: This function does not duplicate the interviewee. If you wish to include one interviewee within more than one project, use the Duplicate Interviewee function, and relocate the copy of the interview to the desired Project location.

5.0 Creating and Editing a Session

Sessions appear in the center of the screen when you select an interviewee.

Figure 5.0: Session List

5.1 Creating a New Session

To create a new session, select new session from the bottom of the interviewee list. The session editor will appear:

Figure 5.1: Session Editor

As in the previous cases, the user is required to assign a session name (usually the name of the interviewee and the session number), and session description. The next step is to locate the relevant session media. Once complete, select save session, at which point the session editor will close and the media file will begin importing into Stories Matter.

Please Note: the session media MUST be in either mp3 or flv format to be compatible with Stories Matter. For PC users working with AVI files, this conversion process will be completed automatically when they load their files in the session editor. This may be a lengthy process, however, a progress bar will be visible to allow you to estimate the approximate time it will take for the file to convert and upload to the software.

For Mac users, this native conversion process is not yet available due to limitations with Adobe Air. A number of reliable open source conversion tools can be found online, however. Care should be taken to ensure that any converted files are smaller than 600MB and contain a minimum of 3 key frames per second to ensure that the resulting FLVs will be of high enough quality for optimal performance in Stories Matter. For more information on this conversion process, please see the Video Conversion Manual, available for download in the Help section of Stories Matter.

5.2 Browsing Sessions

In instances where several sessions are listed, users can browse the contents of each session by clicking once on the session image shown in the session list. This function will allow users to view the clip list for that session in the space previously reserved for the tag cloud in the bottom left corner of the screen.

 

Figure 5.2: Browsing Sessions

5.3 Deleting or Editing Sessions

Clicking once on a session icon or short description will allow the user to view the breadcrumbs necessary for editing or deleting a session.

Figure 5.3: Session Options

Please note: selecting delete session will delete all clips created within that session, as well as all associated notes.

5.4 Session Spaces

Double-clicking on a session will allow the user to begin adding information related to the session. The following interface will appear:

Figure 5.4.1: Session Level – Inside a Session

As in the case of the interviewee spaces, users are now provided with several options for inputting information about the session they are interacting with. The first option is the session tab which allows the user to see key information related to the session’s context, such as a brief summary of the subjects discussed, the location and date where the session took place, the language in which the session is conducted, the original medium of the master recording, and relevant comma-separated tags.

Figure 5.4.2: The Session Tab

To view a map that shows the location where the session was recorded, select Google Maps, and the following interface will appear:

Figure 5.4.3: Google Maps Pop-up Window.

The options located along the bottom of the interviewee space allow the user to document additional information related to the session.

Figure 5.4.4: Interviewee Level Options

The transcript area allows the user to include a written transcription of the interview session.

Figure 5.4.5: Transcript Tab

The interviewer space gives users the option of preserving information about the interviewer, including their name, address, date of birth, and contact information. To keep this information from become public when working online, select this information is not accessible to the public.

Figure 5.4.6: Interviewer Tab/Space

The interviewee space gives users the option of recording information related to the interviewee, including their name, address, date of birth, and contact information. To keep this information from becoming public when working online, once again, you must select this information is not accessible to the public.

Figure 5.4.7: Interviewee Tab/Space

The reflection space allows users to record their reflections on the session.

Figure 5.4.8: Reflection Tab/Space

 

The meta-narrative space allows users to comment on displays of emotion or interesting body language that they find relevant to the issues being discussed.

Figure 5.4.9: Meta-Narrative Tab/Space

The attachments space allows users to upload documents, images and other media that are relevant to a given session.

Figure 5.4.10: Attachments Tab/Space

To add an attachment, select browse. The following interface will appear:

Figure 5.4.11: Upload an Attachment

Finally, should users want to add a new space to document additional information, such as additional interviewers or interviewees, select create space. The following window will appear:

Figure 5.4.12: Create Space

At this point, you have the option of adding any one of the previously mentioned space types to the session.

Next, you can record notes on individual sessions in the session notes space to the lower right hand side of the screen.

Figure 5.4.13: Session Notes

Similarly, information related to the interviewee’s life history can be entered in the Interviewee biographical information space, which remains visible in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Figure 5.4.14: Interviewee Biographical Information

5.5 Duplicating a Session

To create a copy of an interview session, select the session from the Session List (Figure 5.2.1) by clicking on it once. From the session options (Figure 5.3.1) choose Duplicate Session. You can rename the session, or label it a copy, when you see the below window appear.

Figure 5.5: Duplicate Session Dialoge Box

Once you have clicked OK, the session will be copied in full (including all clips, and spaces) and saved within the interviewee sessions list.

5.6 Relocating Sessions within the Database

It is possible to migrate interview session from one Interviewee location to another within the database. To do so, select the interviewee form the Sessions List (Figure 5.2.1) by clicking it once. From the Session Options (Figure 5.3.1), select Edit Interviewee. Adjacent to the Interviewee field, expand the drop-down menu, and choose the Interviewee where you wish to relocate the session.

Figure 5.6: Session Editor Dropdown List

Please Note: This function does not duplicate the session. If you wish to include one session within more than one interviewee, use the Duplicate Session function, and relocate the copy of the session to the desired Interviewee location.

6.0 Creating, Editing and Exporting Clips

An additional feature of the sessions layer is the ability to create and edit clips. Clips are intended to allow users to locate specific points in a session where the interviewee discusses subject matter that fits with the user’s specific research interests.

6.1 Creating a Clip

A user can create a clip by selecting the clip in button on the left, waiting until the desired point in the interview, and then selecting the clip out button on the right.

Figure 6.1.1: Create a Clip –  Clip In and Clip Out

Next, the user must select create clip from the options located along the bottom of the media player. At this point, the clip editor will appear:

Figure 6.1.2: Clip Editor

6.2 Editing or Deleting Existing Clips

Existing clips can be edited by selecting edit clip or delete clip from the options along the bottom of the media player. Users can also generate a clip thumbnail by selecting create clip thumbnail. This thumbnail will appear in the tools space when the user views the clip list.

Figure 6.2: Clip Options

6.3 Exporting Clips

PC users have the option of exporting a clip or playlist to their desktop for easy integration into PowerPoint presentations. To do so, users should select the desired clip from the cliplist by clicking on it once, and then select export clip from the options that appear below the media player (See Figure 6.2). A folder called Stories Matter will be created on the desktop, and within it will be the clip in .avi format.

6.4 The Clip List

An additional feature of the Stories Matter, phase II application is the clip list in the bottom left corner of the screen. Any clips created within a session will appear in the clip list, located in the tools space to the left of the media player.

The clip list will show the clip thumbnail, name, and description. Double-clicking on a clip in the clip list will load that clip in the media player and allow the user to edit or delete the clip in question.

Figure 6.4.1: Reflection Tab/Space

The clip list will show the clip thumbnail, name, and description. Double-clicking on a clip in the clip list will load that clip in the media player and allow the user to edit or delete the clip in question.

6.5 Clip Spaces

Users can also enter relevant information in the clip spaces. Beneath the media player, users can note any reflections they have after listening to the clip by selecting the reflection tab.

Figure 6.5.1: Reflection Tab/Space

Users can also enter comma-separated tags in the reflection space. These will be referenced by the software when users conduct searches or generate a tag cloud to highlight key themes in interviewee’s narratives.

By selecting meta-narrative from the options along the bottom of the clips space, the meta-narrative field will appear, allowing users to comment on relevant displays of emotion or body language.

Figure 6.5.2: Meta-narrative Tab/Space

Users can also enter their notes on the clips they create in the notes box in the lower right hand corner of the window.

Figure 6.5.3: Clip Notes

6.6 Relocating Clips within the Database

To move a clip to a different session location within the database, select the clip form the Clip List (Figure 6.3.1) by clicking it once. From the Session Options (Figure 6.1.3). From the Clip Options, select Edit Clip. Adjacent to the Session field, expand the dropdown menu, and choose the Session where you wish to relocate the session.

Figure 6.6: Clip Editor Dropdown List

7.0 Online Functionality

A new feature of Stories Matter Phase II is that multiple users can now collaborate on a project by accessing and merging databases remotely. To get started, collaborators will need to invest in a server and install Stories Matter.Users may need to employ a software engineer familiar with Adobe Air in order to set this up. From there, an administrator will need to be assigned to access the Stories Matterserver, to create the necessary projects, and to create different user roles, such as project manager, publisher and guests. From there, only registered users will be able to upload information to projects. For users who wish to work independently, these additional steps are unnecessary as the software can still be used offline.

7.1 Accessing Stories Matter Online

Users can begin working online by selecting login from the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Figure 7.1.1: User Login

At this point, the following interface will appear:

Figure 7.1.2: User Login Screen

Users are required to enter a username, password and server URL in order to access the online server. Users also have the option of selecting Login as a guest, which will allow them to access a given server without requiring a user role and password. Next, select Login.

Figure 7.1.3: The COHDS server database

At this point, users will be able to view and interact with the database on their host server, and the database built on their home computer will no longer be visible. Users can return to their local database at any point by selecting Logout.

Figure 7.1.4: Logout


7.2 The Merge Tool

While working online, users will be able to merge elements of their local database with the database housed on their online server. To access the merge tool, select the graph icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Users will be presented with a series of database tools:

Figure 7.2.1: Database Tools

Please note: users will be able to view the options for exporting and importing files, however these functions are only available in the offline mode.

To begin merging information between the online server and a local computer, select the merge tool. The following interface will appear:

Figure 7.2.2: Merge Tool Interface

The project listing on the left-hand side of the table shows the database that exists on your local computer, while the project listing on the right-hand side of the table shows the database that is stored on the online server. Within each project listing, files that appear in grey are currently absent. Basic instructions are listed below the project listings, and can be viewed at any time by selecting help.

To merge, select an item in the desired project listing that is black by clicking on it once. At this point, the options below the project listings will change, presenting users with several options:

Figure 7.2.3: Merging Databases

To upload a project, interviewee, or session from your local computer to the online database, select upload. To download a project, interviewee, or session from the online database to your local computer, select download. Users have the option of merging whole projects, merging children, or merging information contained in specific fields. Once you have chosen one of the options, select apply to begin the merge process.

Figure 7.2.4: Merge In Process

8.0 Additional Features

There are several additional features incorporated into Stories Matter to make the software more usable for oral historians. These include the ability to create and edit playlists, generate tag clouds, export clips to PowerPoint or back-up the contents of the database in an html document, and finally, search the database using key terms.

8.1 Playlists

The first feature is the playlist feature. Users can create playlists from the clips they create by selecting playlist browser from the options located at the top of the project browser.

Figure 8.1.1: Playlist

From there, users must select a project, at which point the following interface will appear:

Figure 8.1.2: Playlist Interface

By selecting an interviewee listed in the clip list, users will be able to view a complete list of clips for each session.

Figure 8.1.3: Clip List

To create a playlist, select + from the timeline. Each time the user selects the +, an empty container will appear.

Figure 8.1.4: Adding Empty Containers to Playlist

Once finished, users can save their playlist by selecting save playlist from the options at the base of the media player. Users can also delete the playlist by selecting clear playlist.

Figure 8.1.6: Playlist Options

Upon selecting save playlist the following interface will appear:

Figure 8.1.7: Playlist Editor

Users must enter a playlist name and description. Once finished, select save playlist. The new playlist will then appear in the playlist browser.

Figure 8.1.8: Playlist Browser

Clicking once on an existing playlist shown in the playlist browser will make additional options appear along the bottom of the timeline space. Using these options, users will have the ability to clear, save changes, edit, or delete the playlist in question.

Figure 8.1.10: Saving, Editing or Deleting Playlists

Once a playlist has been created, users can listen to it by selecting the play button on the media player. The clips will play one after the other unless the user selects pause.

Users can also write a description of the playlist in the playlist description.

Figure 8.1.10: The Playlist Description

Finally, users can record any notes they have regarding the playlists they create in the notes space located to the right of the timeline.

Figure 8.1.11: Playlist Notes

8.2 The Tag Cloud

As users add comma-separated tagsto the interviewee, session and clip layers within Stories Matter, the software will generate a tag cloud. Should the user be interested in determining which themes are being focused upon by the interviewee, then selecting tag cloud from the options located along the bottom of the tools space will display all the tags, making those that are entered into the software more often appear larger than those that are mentioned only occasionally.

Figure 8.2.1: The Tag Cloud

Users may choose to view the tag cloud for a given project, a particular interviewee, or a session by selecting the desired option from the tag filter, located at the base of the tag cloud.

8.3 Additional Database Tools

In addition to the merge tool, there are three additional database tools available to users when they select the graph icon from the menu.

Figure 8.3.1: Database Tools

First, users have the option of exporting the contents of their database in HTML for easy integration into a webpage. To begin, select export to HTML. Users will then be prompted to select a location for the HTML documents.

Figure 8.3.2: Choosing a Destination for HTML export.

Upon clicking select, the HTML folders will appear in the desired location.

* Helpful hint: Create a new folder for the html files in your desired location using the New Folder option. As this option creates four separate folders and an index, saving it to a new folder will save these files together in a tidy package.

A second option available to users is exporting the contents of their local database for the purpose of creating a backup. This is completed by selecting export files.

Figure 8.3.3: Choosing a destination for the Backup

Upon clicking select, the backup will be created in the desired location.

Finally, users can restore their database, by selecting import files.

Figure 8.3.4: Locating a Backup

Users will be prompted to locate their backup database, at which point the backup files will overwrite the existing database.

8.4 Search

Finally, Stories Matter can be searched easily for particular types of content. Selecting the magnifying glass icon from the menu in the upper left hand corner of the software will take the user to a new window where they can conduct a precise or general search of the existing database.

 

Figure 8.4.1: Search Feature

Users can search the database by entering their search terms in the box entitled search terms. They can make the search more or less specific by selecting the specific spaces to search. Next, select search and the results will be returned in the following format:

Figure 8.4.2: Search Results

The search results will be organized according in layers according to project, interviewee, session, or clip. Clicking on a desired result will take the user directly to the corresponding window and allow them to listen immediately to the clip or session in question.

A second convenient way to access the search tool is to click a tag displayed in the tag cloud. Each mention of this tag term will then be displayed in the format shown above (Figure 8.4.2).

9.0 Conclusion

This instructional manual provides new users with a detailed overview of Stories Matter’sbasic functions. Should this fail to answer your question, or if you experience any problems related to the usability of the software, please feel free to contact stories@alcor.concordia.ca for assistance.

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