Friday, March 28, 2014

Typing and Syncing and Saving, Oh My!

Jessica Rubio is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin and a TAVP Human Rights & Archives intern this semester. Read more about her in our Meet the Interns post!

This post is the sixth in our Digital Archives Internship series (also tagged as Archiving the Death Penalty), where TAVP interns publish their reflections processing the TAVP collection. Check back for new posts in the series.

Typing and Syncing and Saving, Oh My!
by Jessica Rubio

Entering what feels like another stage of this internship with TAVP, I've begun working on online, more public tasks that are housed on the Human Rights Documentation (HRDI) website, sponsored by the University of Texas Libraries. A software program called Glifos hosts the interview transcription, table of contents, metadata and other featured content. Even though the program requires some tinkering at times and can be time-consuming, it is much easier to understand and use than I initially expected it to be. Like anything, though, the system can be frustrating to use. 

One of the most important tasks is to sync all sections of the transcript to the digitized video, so that a researcher or general viewer can jump to any section at any given time. In order to sync a particular moment in the transcript to the words spoken, you must click the clapper (see circled button on the screenshot below) at the precise moment in the tape. This task requires patience, and, unfortunately, sometimes requires multiple attempts. 

Syncing Derrek Brooks' interview transcript to his video-recorded interview:
a "behind the scenes" look at the Glifos software

After syncing up the interview and editing my work, I often run into a second frustration: saving. As the system is complex and carries so many components, you must be careful to save your work often; but, it can sometimes take many minutes to save and could possibly even fail at saving your work. The screenshot below illustrates the screen I find myself staring at for quite some time!

Endlessly processing! I hope the saving is successful! 

It is amazing how detailed the program is and that it allows us to be so transparent by providing specific sections and headers under which to place information about the tape itself, about the people who worked with or on it, about the format and categories into which the tape fits, and more. After completing tasks like transcribing, writing of the table of contents, the abstract and more, I am very glad to now be able to make it all public myself.

Last week, TAVP held a discussion panel with current interns, university professors, and the public in attendance. I had been very eager to hear from a professor who had used the TAVP tapes in the classroom, so I was overjoyed to hear Dr. Naomi Paik reflect on her class and her usage of the oral histories. It was interesting to hear from her and others on the future of oral history and its implementation in both high school and university classes.

I strongly feel that oral history is a vital source of information that provides different perspectives on a certain experience, helping us to further understand history and the world around us. The timing of the event seemed to be spot on, as it occurred the day after the 511th execution in our state, a well-timed coincidence. 

All in all, I know that my time at TAVP thus far has benefitted me by providing me with a better understanding of the effects of the death penalty policy in our state and others, and a deeper appreciation of the significance of oral history and archiving. I hope that I someday have the opportunity to use the work of TAVP and I hope that more teachers and professors will implement the use of archives and oral history in the classroom in order to provide another source of history.

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