The best places to search for evergreen audio across the web

In nature, evergreens are trees that stay green all year round. In media, “evergreen content” is content stays fresh and interesting from news cycle to news cycle. It’s content that endures.

Read Pop Up Archive’s guide to finding audio that stays relevant through the ages, featuring incredible repositories of archival sound from the Internet Archive, Library of Congress, the British Library, and the collections at Pop Up Archive and Audiosear.ch.

The best places to search for evergreen audio across the web

In nature, evergreens are trees that stay green all year round. In media, “evergreen content” is content stays fresh and interesting from news cycle to news cycle. It’s content that endures.

Read Pop Up Archive’s guide to finding audio that stays relevant through the ages, featuring incredible repositories of archival sound from the Internet Archive, Library of Congress, the British Library, and the collections at Pop Up Archive and Audiosear.ch.

Five innovative audio projects: New uses for recorded sound

Today’s wealth of public domain audio and open source tools has inspired many amazing projects in the media space. Here are just a few projects that show some interesting new ways to analyze or reuse audio.

1. Blank on Blank

This animation series by David Gerlach sets out to introduce new audiences to forgotten sounds. By pairing archival interviews with striking minimalist animations, the lost words of figures from Gene Wilder to Fidel Castro become newly relevant. 

2. The Speech Accent Archive

In this project from George Mason University, speakers from around the world are given the same paragraph to read. Each reading is then phonetically transcribed, catalogued, and uploaded to the site.  

3. The Sounds of Google Streetview

Amplifon, a hearing aid company, recently released a project to bring a new level of immersion onto the digital map. An open source project built on the Web Audio API, Sounds of Google Streetview lets you add and explore stereophonic ambient sound from Streetview scenes.

4. HiPSTAS

This NEH-backed project comes out of UT Austin’s School of Information. Originally developed to analyze bird calls, the ambitious project aims to identify and analyze patterns in speech such as pitch, rhythm, and timbre.

5. WikiVIP

Wikipedia’s “Voice Intro Project” is an experimental effort to add voice introductions by public figures onto their own Wikipedia pages. All recordings are released into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Know any projects we forgot? Let us know at founders@popuparchive.com!

Five innovative audio projects: New uses for recorded sound

Today’s wealth of public domain audio and open source tools has inspired many amazing projects in the media space. Here are just a few projects that show some interesting new ways to analyze or reuse audio.

1. Blank on Blank

This animation series by David Gerlach sets out to introduce new audiences to forgotten sounds. By pairing archival interviews with striking minimalist animations, the lost words of figures from Gene Wilder to Fidel Castro become newly relevant. 

2. The Speech Accent Archive

In this project from George Mason University, speakers from around the world are given the same paragraph to read. Each reading is then phonetically transcribed, catalogued, and uploaded to the site.  

3. The Sounds of Google Streetview

Amplifon, a hearing aid company, recently released a project to bring a new level of immersion onto the digital map. An open source project built on the Web Audio API, Sounds of Google Streetview lets you add and explore stereophonic ambient sound from Streetview scenes.

4. HiPSTAS

This NEH-backed project comes out of UT Austin’s School of Information. Originally developed to analyze bird calls, the ambitious project aims to identify and analyze patterns in speech such as pitch, rhythm, and timbre.

5. WikiVIP

Wikipedia’s “Voice Intro Project” is an experimental effort to add voice introductions by public figures onto their own Wikipedia pages. All recordings are released into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Know any projects we forgot? Let us know at founders@popuparchive.com!

Digital doesn’t mean permanent: Using the Internet Archive to protect against “erase all”  

To many, the effort to preserve audio files ends at digitization. After all, a physical object — like a record or even CD — decays. A string of data on your computer doesn’t. But what if you delete the string? What if the computer breaks? The truth is, managing digital files comes with its own set of risks.

As we transition into an all-digital media landscape, digital materials can be even more prone to loss than physical recordings. “Born digital” files can easily be lost irretrievably. Whether a destructive coffee spill or an overzealous hard drive purge, it’s disturbingly easy to lose the source files for your audio. 

So how do you protect your most precious audio files? Enter, the Internet Archive: The Internet Archive (archive.org) is an Internet library based in San Francisco. It was created with the mission of preserving materials on the web for generations to come, even in the face of rapidly changing file standards and operating systems. In addition to public domain books, films, and other digital media, they also store hundreds of thousands of hours of audio. And with Pop Up Archive, you can easily contribute your collection to their growing library.

Pop Up Archive lets you preserve audio on Internet Archive servers in just one click. Simply select the Internet Archive option while creating a Pop Up Archive collection, and a copy of each audio item page will be “filed” at the Internet Archive — ensuring that your most valuable recordings become part of the public record.

Digital doesn’t mean permanent: Using the Internet Archive to protect against “erase all”  

To many, the effort to preserve audio files ends at digitization. After all, a physical object — like a record or even CD — decays. A string of data on your computer doesn’t. But what if you delete the string? What if the computer breaks? The truth is, managing digital files comes with its own set of risks.

As we transition into an all-digital media landscape, digital materials can be even more prone to loss than physical recordings. “Born digital” files can easily be lost irretrievably. Whether a destructive coffee spill or an overzealous hard drive purge, it’s disturbingly easy to lose the source files for your audio. 

So how do you protect your most precious audio files? Enter, the Internet Archive: The Internet Archive (archive.org) is an Internet library based in San Francisco. It was created with the mission of preserving materials on the web for generations to come, even in the face of rapidly changing file standards and operating systems. In addition to public domain books, films, and other digital media, they also store hundreds of thousands of hours of audio. And with Pop Up Archive, you can easily contribute your collection to their growing library.

Pop Up Archive lets you preserve audio on Internet Archive servers in just one click. Simply select the Internet Archive option while creating a Pop Up Archive collection, and a copy of each audio item page will be “filed” at the Internet Archive — ensuring that your most valuable recordings become part of the public record.

Add automatic tags to your audio posts in WordPress

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Interview from the Detroit Sound Conservancy’s Greystone collection

Why is it hard to find audio on the web? Audio isn’t text. That means it doesn’t get indexed by search engines.

Don’t worry: Pop Up Archive is taking care of that. We’ve developed a WordPress plugin that lets you quickly add audio and automatic tags straight to blog posts. No more annoying manual tag entry — and no more digging through old file folders buried in your hard drive. You can access your audio and tags right from inside WordPress.

What you see when you add media to a WordPress post:

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Why it makes your life easier:

  • Seamlessly integrate Pop Up Archive auto-tags into your blog post with the “Add Tags” button. (You can approve and reject the tags on Pop Up Archive — or add your own.)
  • Embed a player for your audio by clicking “Add Shortcode.”

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Ready to check it out? Install the plugin and get started today.

Need help setting it up? Don’t hesitate to contact us with support questions. 

Final pro tip: Even if you don’t use WordPress, you can easily embed our audio player into the html of any other site, including tumblr, by simply clicking the “embed” button on any Pop Up Archive item page.

Our public archive is rife with historic audio from the movement for equality and freedom of speech that swept the UC Berkeley campus in the mid 1960s. Check out some of the highlights from the UC-Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library collection:

An audio history of the Free Speech Movement

#HackFSM: Using Pop Up Archive to search speech for the Free Speech Movement Digital Archive

In April, a group at UC-Berkeley made use of the historic content in our collections during a hackathon hosted for students to design the new Free Speech Movement Digital Archive.

The winning site, prototyped in just twelve days, uses Pop Up Archive’s public API to make Free Speech audio searchable directly from the site alongside images, text, and a timeline. By making audio from the UCSF Archives & Special Collections and UC-Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library in Pop Up Archive searchable, forgotten voices of history can be just a keyword search away.

(Note: though audio search is enabled, due to server errors unrelated to Pop Up Archive, audio does not currently play from the hackathon’s winning site.)

Play with our super simple API and imagine how you can incorporate our tools for audio search into your site.

Our public archive is rife with historic audio from the movement for equality and freedom of speech that swept the UC Berkeley campus in the mid 1960s. Check out some of the highlights from the UC-Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library collection:

An audio history of the Free Speech Movement

#HackFSM: Using Pop Up Archive to search speech for the Free Speech Movement Digital Archive

In April, a group at UC-Berkeley made use of the historic content in our collections during a hackathon hosted for students to design the new Free Speech Movement Digital Archive.

The winning site, prototyped in just twelve days, uses Pop Up Archive’s public API to make Free Speech audio searchable directly from the site alongside images, text, and a timeline. By making audio from the UCSF Archives & Special Collections and UC-Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library in Pop Up Archive searchable, forgotten voices of history can be just a keyword search away.

(Note: though audio search is enabled, due to server errors unrelated to Pop Up Archive, audio does not currently play from the hackathon’s winning site.)

Play with our super simple API and imagine how you can incorporate our tools for audio search into your site.

Giving history a voice: introducing our partnership with History IT

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This week, we are very happy to announce Pop Up Archive’s partnership with HistoryIT to make archival sound more discoverable on the web. Together, we’ll provide an end-to-end multimedia archiving experience, so that significant sound recordings can be integrated into web-based archives that are routinely indexed by Google.

Read more in the press release.

A big part of our mission at Pop Up Archive is to create better access to recorded sound, so organizations can save, find, reuse, and monetize their content. Archives, libraries, and museums address this challenge constantly. Others find themselves stewards of “accidental archives,” like San Francisco-based radio producers The Kitchen Sisters, with whom we began our work. But there are no simple, web-­based tools for quickly accessing the historic voices contained within digital audio — not even at some of the biggest institutions in the U.S. We set out to change that by automatically transcribing and tagging audio files, using speech-to-text software uniquely trained for media and cultural heritage organizations, without requiring anyone to painstakingly listen through every file in its entirety.

  • Hidden media  — audio and video that used to be physically stashed away on shelves, on hard drives, behind locked doors — should be accessible and reusable in new and different contexts.

  • It’s time to break down institutional silos that keep incredible content from being discovered on the web.  

  • Adding a search engine optimized text layer to media improves productivity and facilitates new revenue streams.

But we’re not archival consultants: Pop Up Archive provides easy-to-use technology, addressing one of many aspects of the larger digital archiving ecosystem. And this is where HistoryIT comes in. HistoryIT helps build digital archives from start to finish, from feasibility studies to comprehensive digitization, metadata creation, and curated portals to digital archives.  It’s a good thing we found each other, because our services complement each other perfectly.

Our first project together is the audio files from the Digital Mayoral Archive at the University of Indianapolis, which will contain more than 1.5 million records subject-tagged at the item level, including hundreds of hours of sound from the archives of former Senator Richard Lugar.

Building digital archives is not about access for the sake of access. It’s about what meaningful access enables:

  • New and improved information exchange and dialogue with local communities.

  • Immediate relevancy and ability to inform current events through a living archive of searchable voices, both contemporary and historical, cross-referenced with documents and images.

  • Opportunities to monetize content through search engine optimization, new audiences, and resulting increased donor support.

Institutions are beginning to understand the wealth of opportunities that will be afforded them if they clean up their archives and treat them not as static artifacts of the past, but rather as active tools for community and relationship building. Technology has enabled archival collections to be instantly accessible around the world — and they can (and should) be accessible to the public in ways that fit with how the public finds information on the Internet today. Here’s a hint: the public doesn’t use finding aids or Library of Congress subject headings. They ask Google a question and see what it tells them. When it comes to meaningful public access, if there’s a struggle between the finding aid and the search box, we know who’s winning.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s let history speak for itself — there’s no time to waste. Drop us a line and get started today.