Text, as the Hypothesis annotation client understands it, is HTML, or PDF transformed to HTML. In either case, it’s what you read in a browser, and what you select when you make an annotation.
What’s the equivalent for audio and video? It’s complicated because although browsers enable us to select passages of text, the standard media players built into browsers don’t enable us to select segments of audio and video.
It’s trivial to isolate a quote in a written document. Click to set your cursor to the beginning, then sweep to the end. Now annotation can happen. The browser fires a selection event; the annotation client springs into action; the user attaches stuff to the selection; the annotation server saves that stuff; the annotation client later recalls it and anchors it to the selection.
But selection in audio and video isn’t like selection in text. Nor is it like selection in images, which we easily and naturally crop. Selection of audio and video happens in the temporal domain. If you’ve ever edited audio or video you’ll appreciate what that means. Setting a cursor and sweeping a selection isn’t enough. You can’t know that you got the right intro and outro by looking at the selection. You have to play the selection to make sure it captures what you intended. And since it probably isn’t exactly right, you’ll need to make adjustments that you’ll then want to check, ideally without replaying the whole clip.
Jon Udell has been playing around with media fragments to create some new functionality in Hypothes.is. The nice part is that he’s created an awesome little web service for quickly and easily editing media fragments online for audio and video (including YouTube videos) which he’s also open sourced on GitHub.
This selection tool has nothing intrinsically to do with annotation. It’s job is to make your job easier when you are constructing a link to an audio or video segment.
(If I were Virginia Eubanks I might want to capture the pull quote myself, and display it on my book page for visitors who aren’t seeing it through the Hypothesis lens.)
Originally, I just browsed for new stuff by scrolling through the top picks list on the iTunes Podcasts app. But that was time consuming. After trying out the search functionality on the app, I wished I could search a little better. I decided to look for other resources that I could use to further dial in my selections. Turns out there are some pretty good websites/apps out there to help you do just that. Here are a few of the best ones I’ve found.
My thoughts on what the article leaves out:
For podcast discovery, I love using Huffduffer. It has a simple browser bookmarklet which allows you to bookmark audio to listen to later and creates iTunes or other feeds you can quickly and easily subscribe to on most of the major podcatchers.
Even better it allows you to search for topics and people. Almost everything on the site (including individuals and even the lists of people you’re following) has audio RSS feed as well as other subscription services that you can subscribe directly to. Love Elvis? Search, subscribe, and listen.
As an example, want to know what I’ve been listening to? Check out my feed where you can see a list, listen to it directly, or even subscribe.
Papa Fred re-enacting a photo from more than 40 years ago.
Exterior of Mijares Mexican Restaurant
A great way to make an entrance to a room: with Mariachis!
I caught some audio of the singing of Happy Birthday as well as a serenade by the Mariachis at Mijares. Apologies in advance for the poor audio quality in a relatively loud and busy room, but it’ll give a small flavor and reminder of the party
60db seems like the start of what could be an interesting podcast/audio discovery app/engine. It has the appearance of wanting to be like Nuzzel for the audio space based on their announcement, but isn’t quite there yet based on my quick look through their site. On first blush it doesn’t seem much better than Huffduffer and doesn’t have a follower model of any sort, but perhaps that could change. Folks watching the podcasting and audio discovery space should keep an eye on it though.
Sadly, at least for now, the app appears to focus on short form audio (3-8 minutes in length) from major media content producers who are already syndicating audio in podcast format. I haven’t used the iOS (no Android app yet) app, but the web interface allows one to pick from a list of about 20 broad category options (news, sports, politics, kids, etc.) to “customize” one’s feed.
Hopefully in the future it may build itself out a bit more like Nuzzel by requesting data from one’s Facebook or Twitter feeds to better customize an algorithmic feed for better general audio discovery. Maybe it will allow a follower model based on social graph for improved discovery. One might also like to see custom settings for podcast story length, so one could choose between short hit audio, which they currently have in abundance, and longer form stories for lengthier commute times.
For the moment however, they seem to have recreated a slightly better and more portable version of news radio for the internet/mobile crowd. Perhaps future iterations will reveal more?