The Moth and NYPL launch collaborative audio storytelling project

Launching today! A new take on crowdsourced storytelling


This week we’re thrilled to announce the launch of a project many months in the making: a public transcript editor set to make thousands of stories accessible — and comprehensively searchable — online. Together We Listen is a collaborative transcript editor created by The New York Public Library Labs, The Moth, and Pop Up Archive with generous support from the Knight Foundation.

This project is the result of a Knight Foundation Prototype grant awarded to NYPL and The Moth in late 2015 to explore how the power of the crowd can help fine-tune automatic transcripts and metadata generated for their rich story archives.

NYPL’s Community Oral History Project has been collecting oral histories from neighborhoods around New York City since 2013, currently totaling over 1,000 personal stories. The Moth is a storytelling non-profit and podcast founded in 1997 which has presented over 20,000 stories told live to packed audiences around the world. For this project, they’ve started with more than 600 stories recorded at live Moth shows.

The result of this work is an innovative interactive transcript editor developed by NYPL Labs using transcripts generated by Pop Up Archive.


How the collaborative transcript editor works

Starting today, you’ll find story collections from The Moth and NYPL at Together We Listen, where you can listen to audio and choose transcripts to edit. As with Pop Up Archive, you can edit text in sync with audio using key commands to speed the process. Your edits will be weighed against other competing edits until consensus is reached and a line is marked as complete.

Prefer to edit in a group? If you’re a New Yorker, NYPL is hosting a number of “transcribe-athon” events (that’s our neologism) at various branch libraries, where community members can gather to transcribe local oral histories together in person. A final celebration and hackathon will take place at NYPL in late June 2016, where the the open-source transcript editor software will be freely available to archivist-programmers to adapt to their own needs.

Together We Listen: Dive into stories from NYPL and The Moth

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