An interactive transcript allows viewers to click text to navigate video, and to copy text to get a sentence-level link along with the text. Share what you copied and it takes just one click to hear the quote in context.
The InSite system
I’m a consultant working with the Rutherfurd Living History program at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. We’ve developed the InSite system, which is a workflow for recording, transcribing and organizing interviews and an open-source system for publishing interactive transcripts. The publishing system also allows readers to share quote lists. Each quote includes a direct link to that quote in the video. The system also allows publishers to annotate interviews and build annotated timelines. The InSite system is implemented on the Rutherfurd Living History site.
We also helped FRONTLINE implement the system for it’s Putin Files project. We made interactive transcripts of the 70 hours of source interviews for the Putin’s Revenge documentary shareable at the quote level.
Here are a couple of shareable quotes from the Rutherfurd Living History archives.
This one is from a 2016 interview from the Civil Rights collection. Voting rights activist Armenta Eaton is remembering back to her childhood:
And I would try to sit up, watch for any suspicious activities, and then maybe 7 o’clock, 6 o’clock in the morning, I would lay my weapon down, take my bag, get dressed for school and go to school. And half the time, I would be in school, just about to fall out of my chair. Because I was sleepy you know.
This one is from a 1981 interview from the Vietnam and the Cold War collection. Dean Rusk, US Secretary of State from 1961-1969, said this about World War II:
We reached a point where we realized that we had to get the war over with before the very institutions of our society melted out from under us and we could no longer sustain the war effort. He said our educational system is drying up, our professions were drying up, our economy was becoming fundamentally distorted.
Here are a couple of insights about Putin from The Putin Files interactive transcripts:
He is a man who is obsessed with TV. He watches tapes of the evening news over and over and over again to see how he’s portrayed, to see how he looks. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/interview/julia-ioffe/#1112
What Putin did when he came in was said: “OK, I’ve got a different project. We’re going to make”—if you will, to coin a phrase–“I’m going to make Russia great again”. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/interview/james-collins/#206
Anyone can share any excerpt from any interview in the Living History collection or any of the 70 hours of interviews from the Putin Files: select an excerpt, click to copy, and you get the excerpt plus the direct link. Use the direct link in a story to enable viewers to see the quote in context.
Here’s more information about the technology and the thinking behind it:
The InSite documents:
Our Research – An overview of the InSite system
The Interview: A Report – How we got there, including the logic behind the system
InSite: A Guide – A guide for recording, transcribing and publishing interviews
Technology to Watch – Technologies that may eventually be used for preparing or publishing interactive interviews
Colophon – The software that’s used to publish interactive transcripts on the Rutherfurd site
The InSite documents are all published as interactive pages that don’t have media attached. If you select an excerpt you can copy the excerpt plus a link right to that excerpt.
Here are some examples:
From the report:
Here’s what we learned in our interviews with 45 journalists who span a wide range of ages and work for major US newspapers, magazines, online publications, television and radio stations.
From the guide:
Update: FRONTLINE more closely adapted the InSite system to publish the Putin Files, which are interactive transcripts of the 70 hours of source interviews conducted for the November, 2017 documentary Putin’s Revenge.
From Technology to Watch:
There are three particularly tricky steps: transcribing audio into an accurate transcript, connecting the transcript at the sentence level to timecodes in the audio/video, and keeping this connection in the published version.