Soundcite: Seamless inline audio
Soundcite is a “a simple-to-use tool that lets you add inline audio to your story.” Rather than embedding media players or linking to audio hosted in other places, this tool allows you to upload, clip, and embed a player directly into your prose. This is a great tool to use with students to have them engage with sound as historical artifacts as well as to think about how incorporating sound into your writing can enhance a historical argument.
How to Use
To use Souncite you will need the URL of an audio file hosted somewhere on the open web and a basic understanding of how to incorporate HTML into your text. An audio URL will need to have a file extension at the end, for example: https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/media/afc/afc1940001/afc1940001_a4228a1.mp3. If the sound you would like to use is stored locally on your computer, you will first need to host it on the web before using Soundcite. If you plan on using Soundcloud to host your audio, please see the FAQ section on the page and the info box on Step 3 to make sure your clip will work properly.
To create your clips, you will follow the steps laid out at the bottom of the page. Watching the video tutorial and looking at the examples on the Soundcite page should give you a good sense of the steps and possibilities for creating your own clips. It should be noted that as an open source tool, Soundcite can be buggy at times. Therefore, it is recommended that you make sure to write down the start and end time of the clip as well as the text you’d like the player to display in case you need to refresh the page.
There are three main steps to make and embed your Soundcite clips.
1. Load Audio: Load in your audio to Soundcite by copying and pasting the audio URL and then clicking “Load.” You’ll know this has worked when the audio player appears below in Step 2. Please note, this is the step that can sometimes be buggy. If your clip is not loading, simply refresh the page and try again until you see the audio player.
2. Create Clip: Once your file has loaded, use step two to create your clip. You can select a start and end time for your clip by inputting the timestamps yourself or starting the audio player and use the “Set from player” buttons. If you would like the clip to play more than once, you can change the number of plays here. Finally, this is where you will input the text you want your clip to display. Therefore, it is important that you know what your writing will say before creating your clips so that it integrates into your prose. Once you have input these options, select “Create clip.” You will see your clip displayed below with the text and clip you’ve chosen, and an embed code underneath.
3. Embed Clip: The final step is to copy and paste the HTML embed codes for your clip into your text by using the HTML editor in your blog or website. The embed code in Step 3 should be pasted at the top of the page where you want your clip to appear. If inserted properly, this will not appear on the public view of your blog or website page.Then, you will need to insert the embed codes for each clip directly into your text. This will generate the player with the text included, so make sure you do not have the text you input for your clip remaining in your prose so that the clip is seamlessly integrated into your writing.
This tool can be useful with students both in presentation or to incorporate into their own projects. For example, you can create web presentations for your students in which they can engage with the audio as directly as they engage with the prose. This can ensure that students won’t pass over the audio sources like they may if included separate from the text, and can also allow you to direct their attention to particular points in the audio. For example, if teaching about different musical traditions, Soundcite allows you to include clips from various songs that can highlight things like lyrics, rhythms, or instrumentation as students are reading about these elements.
Students can also use this tool to demonstrate their engagement with audio sources as historical artifacts. For this assignment, we can think beyond music into other forms of recorded sound. For example, have students select and listen to an oral history. Then, they can write a response about what they heard incorporating Soundcite clips from the audio directly into their response. This would require that students submit their work in some kind of blogging or web editing software, rather than a traditional word document. Alternatively, you could have students think about the nature of sound in their own lives by having them record the soundscapes around them. One example would be to have students listen to nature and connect this activity to a response about Thoreau’s Walden or other transcendentalist texts. Another option would be to have them record the soundscapes of industries or work in their communities and connect to larger lessons about industrialization or labor history. Once they host this audio online, they can use Soundcite to write personal essays connecting their experiences to those of the past.