(Photo courtesy of Illinois Public Media)
When Pop Up Archive was born, our goal seemed simple: to help audio producers organize their archives and create searchable sound. As we launch Pop Up Archive publicly, our goal has grown much bigger.
We want to make it easy for all storytellers to find and reuse recorded sound. Now, anyone can visit popuparchive.org to make audio findable through auto-transcription, auto-tagging, and easy-to-use sound management tools. As we onboard audio collections large and small, we’re gathering thousands of hours of sounds from around the world — and they’re all waiting to be discovered.
Among the voices: Buster Keaton explains silent film captioning to Studs Terkel in an age of entertainment far removed from today’s digital marketplaces. And a simple search across the public archive for a term such as “future” turns up results that span a Y2K apocalypse-centric radio broadcast from WBUR in 1999, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel telling a local reporter about his plans for the city, and a recent California Report episode on the future of the online currency Bitcoin.
But we can’t do it alone. We started out as aspiring journalists — but we found our calling making tools to help journalists. Since winning the Knight News Challenge in 2012, we’ve built lasting partnerships with some of the most exciting, forward-thinking media organizations in the country. With the Public Radio Exchange, our co-conspirators and the best source of technical expertise we could hope for, we’ve made thousands of hours of sound searchable from an inspiring variety of media producers and oral history collections.
REWIND: AUDIO, A DYING MEDIUM?
But let’s pause (pun intended, please forgive us) for a moment. Who cares about sound, anyway? Isn’t radio in its death throes?
I just signed out “NPR News, Dakar.” Never have I felt like such an imposter.