RSS Feed

Week 6 Notes


February 18, 2015 by Adina Langer

I have high hopes that the students who braved the cold and the challenge of a technically-oriented in-class assignment got a lot out of last night’s class on digital transcription and text encoding techniques.  Detailed notes follow.

Digital History Class Notes Week Six

February 17, 2015


4:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.


  • Project check-in
  • Adina: contact the Atlanta History Center about the use of items from their archives in the Atlanta Rail Corridor Archive.
  • It’s OK to add more content to the Omeka site after the midterm
  • Please share a gmail address with Adina in order for her to share the rights log with you.
  • Fair Use Week
    • Write about how you would include an item under the terms of fair use and email Adina.
  • Please check the syllabus for assignments. You don’t have to write reading response blog posts every other week.


4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.


  • In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “Don’t panic!”
  • Talking transcription
    • When is it a good idea to transcribe audio or text files?
      • helping with access for the hearing impaired or anyone unfamiliar with the dialect
      • making items accessible as quickly as possible
      • Sharing expertise in the case of particular time periods and handwriting standards, standards of salutations, abbreviations
      • Serve as translator or ambassidor from one time period to another
    • What factors make transcription difficult?
      • time-consuming more than anything else
      • tedious work
      • most people don’t type as fast as people talk
      • tough to find the talent
      • experts don’t always feel an inclination to do it
    • When is transcription not enough for a researcher?
      • Indexing and knowing where items occur.
      • What is markup/encoding?
        • “A markup language must specify how markup is to be distinguished from text, what markup is allowed, what markup is required, and what the markup means. XML provides the means for doing the first three; documentation such as these Guidelines (TEI) is required for the last.”
        • “XML is widely used for the definition of device-independent, system-independent methods of storing and processing texts in electronic form.”
        • “In XML, the instructions needed to process a document for some particular purpose (for example, to format it) are sharply distinguished from the markup used to describe it.”
        • “A second key aspect of XML is its notion of a document type: documents are regarded as having types, just as other objects processed by computers do.”
        • “A basic design goal of XML is to ensure that documents encoded according to its provisions can move from one hardware and software environment to another without loss of information.”
        • Elements define nested sections of a text
          • “An element may be empty, that is, it may have no content at all, or it may contain just a sequence of characters with no other elements. Often, however, elements of one type will be embedded (contained entirely) within elements of a different type.”
        • “In the XML context, the word attribute, like some other words, has a specific technical sense. It is used to describe information that is in some sense descriptive of a specific element occurrence but not regarded as part of its content.”
  • Some transcription solutions
  • Markup Solution



5:15 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.


  • Short Break


5:20 p.m. – 5: 30 p.m.

  • Example
    • Adina Langer interview with Albert McQueen
    • Listen to excerpt and follow along with TEI encoded version


5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.

    • Break into groups of 2 or 3
      • Listen to your oral histories
        • Choose an audio file
        • Make sure you have a transcribed excerpt
        • Work together to produce an XML marked up document from the transcribed segment of the speech. 




6:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

  • Debrief
  • For next week please don’t forget to post collections to share with the class
  • Email me your TEI documents and I will share them with the rest of the class.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar