• Anne Wootton, anne@popuparchive.org, Pop Up Archive (www.popuparchive.org)

Culturally significant digital audio collections are hard to discover on the web. There are major barriers keeping this valuable media from scholars, researchers, and the general public:

Audio is opaque: you can’t picture sound, or skim the words in a recording. Audio is hard to share: there’s no text to interact with. Audio is not text: but since text is the medium of the web, there’s no path for audiences to find content-rich audio. Audio metadata is inconsistent and incomplete.

At Pop Up Archive, we’re helping solve this problem making the spoken word searchable. We began as a UC-Berkeley School of Information Master’s thesis to provide better access to recorded sound for audio producers, journalists, and historians. Today, Pop Up Archive processes thousands of hours of sound from all over the web to create automatic, timestamped transcripts and keywords, working with media companies and institutions like NPR, KQED, HuffPost Live, Princeton, and Stanford. We’re building collections of sound from journalists, media organizations, and oral history archives from around the world. Pop Up Archive is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and 500 Startups.