Sounding Off

I’ve been meaning to make this post for over a week but keep forgetting to change the visibility from Private to Public. I also thought that one of my final  process blog posts should address some of the technical challenges I’ve faced. Firstly, although I consider the documents that I’ve sourced as important background for my project, amongst the feedback I received at the Pecha Kucha was the fact that, although this was interesting material, few visitors to the URT were likely to take the time to read a blurry old text from 1910. It was suggested that since I had inserted myself into the project as narrator via the Dear Photographs style ontographs I might also consider narrating the documents. This proved more difficult than I had anticipated.

Since I’m working from home the only audio recording software I have access to is the Windows Sound Recorder. This is a very simple but easy-to-use programme. Unfortunately as far as I can tell it can only generate .wma files and this format does not seem to be supported by URT. I checked the TRAC user guide at and saw that although “general audio formats should work fine” it specifically refers to MP3s and WAVs so obviously I should aim to record in one of those formats. Fortunately I was able to download RealPlayer and use that programme to convert my .wma files to MP3s.

The second problem I encountered was that using the microphone in my monitor makes the audio sound as if I’m recording in a barn (not necessarily a bad thing on a cowboy project)! I was just planning a trip to Radio Shack to buy myself a cheap mic when I remembered a headset I had bought to use with voice recognition software. Voice recognition proved a huge failure as it took as long to make correction to the text as it did to type manually. However, the headset microphone proved ideal to make my URT recordings – no more taxis honking or fire engines in the background.

The final issue has been uploading the audio files into the URT itself. Due to a glitch every time I’ve tried to do so I received an error message “Cannot play audio for Listen”. I’ve therefore created a SoundCloud account and hope to use it to embed the audio into my URT records. My concerns here are a) I’m reluctant to have recordings of my voice floating around on the web and b) given that Soundcloud is a third party commercial site there is no way of  knowing how long the recording will persist or be curated (compare GeoCities) unlike the Parsons servers. I’ll post update once this issue is resolved.

Finally I would mention that, as a bonus, I’ve also learned how to attach a photo to my WordPress profile!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *