More Digital Skills: Audio and Wikis

November 30, 2006

This post documents two more digital skills.  I have been wrestling with sound editing since I produced my video file, and haven’t had a whole lot of luck with the sound management programs that come with Windows.  So, I downloaded WavePad, a freeware audio editor, off the Internet and used it to tighten up an interview I did with my father several years ago.  I was planning to write an article for a magazine, and wanted to get some information from him about his WWII experiences.  I recorded him on a portable cassette recorder and retained the tape after I finished my project.  As it turned out, this tape was one of the only recordings my family had of his voice after he died in 2000.  So, I converted the analog recording to digital format using a Pioneer CD burner connected to a cassette player.  I cleaned up the files using WavePad and uploaded one example here.  Its in the blogroll under “Entering Tokyo Harbor, Sept 1945.”  It is in .mp3 format.  The link will take you to the Archives page of the Kam Zero website.  Click on the underlined text and if your computer has an audio capability the file should play.  I’ve tested it on RealPlayer and it works fine – much better fidelity than the original analog recording.  I will work through the rest and upload them as well, with a little commentary on what documents we were looking at while he talked.

My next digital skill to discuss is wiki entries.  I did one a few weeks ago on the Battle of Niihau – the link is in the blogroll – and was underwhelmed by my first participatory experience with crowdsourcing history.  Shortly after I made my entry, someone else came behind me and overwrote most of my material, including annotations and references.  I spent a good deal of time on my entry (it was originally part of my Master’s thesis) and I think the group result isn’t as clean and to the point.  There’s a lot of what I consider extraneous material in the latest entry, which overshadows the main point of the Battle.  I don’t think I’ll be in a rush to wiki myself again, though I will probably continue to use wikipedia as a pointer for more reliable sources.

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