NITLE Workshop - Digitizing Audio

I was at the NITLE - Digitizing Audio workshop yesterday at Bryn Mawr College. It was an excellent workshop that covered the things I had been hoping to learn more about with the right level of skill and also included a number of new things that I think we may be able to use at Luther.

The main point of the workshop was to learn more about Audacity, a free audio editing software that Jim Veeder introduced me to last fall. We currently use Audacity to digitize and edit our oral histories. The workshop went into more detail about using the program, its strengths and some of its limitations. Fortunately, I think this free software is exactly what we will need to use for further digital audio projects in the archives.

We also looked at another web-based product, Voice Thread that allows you to post images and add voice information to them, draw on them, add additional comments, etc. It is a potential free/low cost option to Camtasia. It's definitely work looking at further. The free version only allows you 3 Voice Threads, but for $29.95 a year you can have unlimited Voice Threads.

The final topic was podcasting. We used Audacity to create podcasts and looked at as a place to host podcasts. There were participants who were adding podcasting to their Blackboard and Moodle sites.

It was a nice mix of people, about half were from the local colleges (Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr are in a consortium) and the rest of us from around the country. I had good conversations over lunch with people about Flickr, Moodle, Gmail and other things we're doing at Luther. Several schools are using iTunes U and that might be a good option for us to consider for digital audio storage.

The trainer was Bret Olsen and he was very good. He definitely knew what he was talking about, was flexible to the needs of the group and kept the day rolling. It did not drag or ever seem too long like some training does. I'm particularly interested in the session he does for Windows Movie Maker (which we use heavily in the archives) although the MAC user sitting next to me said I really should just make the jump to iMovie.