Instead of lecturing and having a little bit of time devoted to using the Library’s audio recorders, we moved the lecture portion into 15 minutes of video, and then devoted the whole 50 minutes of class time to working with the audio recorders. Enjoy!
In this class we’re going to cover the basics of audio recording and editing of interviews. While it may seem like recording an audio interview should be straightforward, there are a number of things you can do to make your interview easier or more difficult to listen to. There is nothing worse that trying to listen to an interview with a lot of background noise, or to an interview that was not recorded at a high enough input volume.
To help you record the best quality audio interview possible, we will cover the following areas:
- How to choose a good interview location.
- Where to borrow high quality audio recording equipment.
- Audio recorder setup options – when to use them and when not to.
- Settings for Interviews, Meetings and Music.
- How to effectively test audio quality immediately before the interview and why this is so important.
With all this under your belt you’ll be record a high quality audio interview. We’ll also cover the basics of audio editing in the Mac application Garageband, in case you need to splice together some audio, or trim the beginning or end of your audio files.
Lastly, in class you’ll be able to use all that you’ve learned by working through a short project with one or two of your classmates.If you run into problems, you can always ask for help at the Music and Multimedia counter in the library. Good Luck!
B. Using the Audio Recorder
C. Editing with GarageBand
This weekend I thought back to a story I heard years ago about the railroad industry. As people and products started using highways for transportation, most rail road companies did not diversify into those new modes of transportation because they saw themselves as railroad companies, not transportation companies.
It’s never easy to make big shifts when technology opens up new opportunities. Looking back in time it seems obvious that big, successful railroad companies should have been able to make the transition (or diversify) into new modes of transportation, but generally speaking they did not. How come?
- Change is difficult and scary at the same time. Bureaucratic inertia makes it difficult to change the direction of most large organizations, along with the fear of dislocation and not knowing how to do a new job.
- Another major consideration is that the “new direction” that is obvious to us know, is generally not obvious at the time. Mistakes will be made in technological transitions. There will be ventures down dead ends, before the new best practices become well worn paths.
- In the case of academic libraries, we are a service “department” inside of larger organizations. Out of necessity we support the direction of the University in the best way we can, and do not necessarily have the power to change the direction of the university no matter how certain that our version of the future is correct.
- Lastly, larger, consensus based, democratic organizations (like Universities) generally change more slowly than smaller organizations that have strong central authority to dictate to their direction (like Corsera, et al.). This is a double edged sward. On one hand we are not as nimble as smaller start-ups. On the other hand we have resources and prestige that can allow us to be very competitive if we can create a consensus to move in the “right” direction in a timely fashion.
Trying to figure out what is the “right” direction is the tricky part, and what I think we’re headed towards in the Strategic Planning process at the library where I work. One point to remember is that railroad companies survive to this day, but they are much less important than they were a century ago, in large part because they were unable to recoginize the importance of new technologies, and integrate them into their businesses.
P.S. Here are two great articles on the future of libraries by Seth Godin & Clay Shirky as food for thought:
How To Instructions for the Conference eBook Seminar
June 21, 2012 – San Diego, CA
If you’re a more visual person, please watch the video tutorial that goes along with this blog post on YouTube.
Step 1: Open “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.docx” file in Microsoft Word.
Step 2: In Word, “File” -> “Save As…” -> “Other Formats”. In the bottom drop down, select “Web Page Filtered” & save to your desktop. Close Word.
Step 3: Launch Sigil & open the HTML document you just saved.
Step 4: Cut top 4 lines of the document (from “Canadian” to the end of “… March 29,1982”).
Step 5: Select, “Generate Inline HTML TOC” (located at the bottom right of the screen). A TOC.html file will be created.
Step 6: “Edit” -> “Paste” on a new line at the top of the TOC document.
Step 7: “Edit” -> “Meta Data Editor” and add Title and Author information. Select “OK”.
Step 8: “File” -> “Save” to save the ePub file to your desktop.
Step 9: Email the ePub file to yourself, and then open on your eBook reader.
How hard could it be? Those are usually the last words I utter before descending into a quagmire of technical pain as I work through how to use and master a new technology. Fortunately this time, making an eBook and related hard copy book turned out to be a straightforward and fairly easy process to master… once all the appropriate tools were identified and lined up, that is. An added bonus is that all the software is free to download and use on both Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
This project started a couple of months ago when a coworker kindly suggested that I write a paper based on a presentation I give to classes of law students on software tools for research and collaboration: Research & Collaboration Tools for Students, Staff & Faculty: Creating a Modern Memex. With that encouragement I started writing with my current favourite writing tool, Google Docs.
Related YouTube Video: eBook Publishing Made Easy
Step 1 Google Docs: Google Docs is particularly good for collaborative document editing but it is also capable enough for academic writing. This means that it supports footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies, tables of contents, inline images, and style sheets among other things. For the purposes of this project, it also does a great job of exporting all of these features and formatting into a HTML document, which is exactly what we need for the next step of our project… creating an ePub file in Sigil. If you use Microsoft Word or OpenOffice instead of Google Docs, you can still save your document as an HTML file and then import it into Sigil. Note, you should not proceed to the next step until you have completed writing, editing and revising your document. This is because if there are any changes you need to make after this point, you’ll need to redo steps 2 and 3 every time you “edit” your document.
I’ve just finished creating eBook and paper book versions of a paper that I recently wrote called, “Research & Collaboration Tools for Students, Staff & Faculty: Creating a Modern Memex“. It should be helpful for anyone doing research, but especially for high school students, university students, teachers and faculty. At 55 pages in paper book format, it is a short but informative read.
As a personal learning project, I’ve made the book available in multiple formats, so that it is accessible to everyone who is interested in reading it. Feel free to send a link to this page to anyone who you think might find this short book helpful. I’ve published it using the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
If you have an iPad, be sure to download the “iBooks for iPad only” version, as it is a multi-media edition, that includes embedded videos that unfortunately the other formats do not yet support.
Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions for the book. If you read a free version of the book, please leave a review in the Kindle Store, as I suspect this will help others discover the book.
No matter what you think of Al Gore’s politics, his latest book, “Our Choice” points toward the direction that authors and publishers should be heading. Text combined with images, video and interactive graphics, make this e-Book a much more compelling product than a the equivalent physical book. I personally enjoy reading on my iPad, but all of the books I read in my Kindle reader are identical to the print copy (except that I can change the font size, and have a built in dictionary). The price is also right: $5 for the e-Book compared to $17 for the a physical copy.
My first reaction to the Our Choice app (for iPad and iPhone only at the moment) was that it reminded me a lot of CD Rom products from the 1990′s. Call me crazy, but I loved the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia because it not only included text and pictures, but added videos and interactive charts. I enjoyed the media rich CD Rom products that came of of the mid 1990 confluence of CD Roms, color monitors and speakers all shipping standard with PC’s.
So what is different this time around? For starters the form factor of the iPad make for a much more pleasant reading experience than sitting in front of a computer screen. In addition, the navigation interface that the iPad’s touch screen makes possible is intuitive and natural. Push Pop Press is the company that wrote the software for the book, and from what they’ve said, they hope to make their tools available so that others can publish media rich tools. Watch the video below to see how the “book” works
It was a wonderful experience reading Our Choice. Not all books, especially novels, need videos and interactive charts, but for some books (like school text books in particular) these bells and whistles make a huge positive difference. I hope to see more book in a similar format in the near future.
I recently returned from a Law School Technology conference, and while there I learned how easy it is to create ebooks from documents in Microsoft Word or HTML formats. Elmer Masters lead a session called, Creating eBook Version of Your School’s Law Reviews Using Open Source and Free Tools (see the video here).
The ebook creation process was so easy that during the session I download, installed the tools, and created an ebook of my conference notes before Elmer had finished his talk. For anyone interest here is the process:
- Download Sigil, the free and open source ebook editor for your operating system.
- Install Sigil on your computer.
- Open the word document that you’d like to turn into an Ebook.
- Save the document as an html file by going to “File” -> “Save As” and then selecting “Web Page (htm)” in the drop down box. Then press the “Save” button.
- Launch Sigil, and right mouse click on “Text” folder in the left hand column, and select “Add Existing Items…” Add the html file you just “Saved As” from word.
- Now press the “Save” button on the Sigil tool bar, and you are done!
You might want to go to the Sigil “Tool” -> “Meta Data” menu to add a title and author to the book to make it look a little more professional looking, but other than that, you’ve created your first Ebook! Congratulations! If your document is long enough, you can insert chapter breaks to make it easier to navigate.
You might be wondering how you get this ebook on to your iPad or iPhone. All you need to do is either email the ebook to your self and then open it on your mobile device, or if you use Dropbox, move the ebook into Dropbox and then open it from Dropbox on your iPad or iPhone. If you’re a kindle user, you should have an email address than you can send file to in order to add them to your Kindle device.
For your reading pleasure, here are my CALI 2011 Conference Notes in ePub, PDF and Google Doc formats. Happy reading!
A colleague of mine asked me yesterday what tools I’d recommend for a group of a dozen or so scholars spread around the world to collaborate on a scholarly project. The good news is that there are lots of good tools available for people to use. The bad news is that there are lots of good tools to choose from. Depending on your group’s particular requirements and preferences, you may choose a different tool set than your colleagues down the hall.
That said, here are my primary and secondary recommendations for collaborative tools, along with some rational for my selections: Read More
Google Docs has been my choice for collaborative document editing for some time now, but this past week a new feature was added, that will make the process of collaborating on a single document even less painful. If you and your classmates are working on your project document at the same time, the text that others in your group are adding or editing will be highlighted so you can easily see the changes as they are made, and make sure you’re not inadvertently working on the same section of the document.
Not only does collaborative highlighting show you where you classmates are working, but it will also show you when they highlight blocks of text, so you can watch to see if the text get deleted or moved. I wish I’d been able to use Google Docs when I was a Bachelor of Commerce student continually working on group projects!
Some of the other features that college students will appreciate are:
- Footnotes and Endnotes
- Table of Contents tool
- Inline Thesaurus and Dictionary lookups
- Add new words to a Custom Dictionary
- Auto save every few seconds
A couple of days ago, I ran across an insightful iPad review by Anne Kirschner, a dean at City University of NY. Her iPad experience closely matches mine. Here are some of my thoughts:
- The move from the morning paper to reviewing the news on the iPad, make breakfast a much more pleasant experience, because of the smaller and more easily managed iPad form factor. I actually do a lot of my “newspaper” reading in bed now.
- When used in meetings, it gives you the ability to take electronic notes and consult the web for meeting related material, with out “barricading yourself behind a screen.” For me this has made a huge difference, especially now that the novelty of the iPad is wearing off and more people have them in meetings.
- When traveling, it’s 10 hour battery life makes long flights more endurable as I can watch movies I really want to watch, or play games while in the air.
- The 10 hour battery life means that I don’t need to recharge it during the day, and often I go 3 or 4 days between charging.
- Reading using the Kindle reader is a joy. I especially appreciate being able to go back and forth between my iPad and iPod and the Kindle app knowing where I left off on the other device (this work across all Kindle apps and devices).
What I’m hoping gets fixed in version 4 of the iPad OS:
- One of the main drawbacks is it’s limited ability to multi-task that we’ve become accustomed to on laptops. Copy and pasting text or an image from a web page just takes a lot longer.
- One other drawback is the iPad’s current inability to sync files from your desktop computer, or from some cloud based system. If I could have 2 way syncing of some of my DropBox floders I would be a very happy man.
- This is not a big issue, but I’d love to be able to output the contents of the screen via the Apple VGA dongle, from every application, not just Keynote.
That’s it for know… You should really read Anne’s article for all the interesting details she includes.