Tag Archives: soundcloud

Thing 21: Voice interaction and recording

14 Oct

I think we can all agree that one of the great things about modern mobile devices is the variety of ways that we can interact with them. Unlike older phones and desktop computers, we are no longer restricted to a keyboard (or mouse) interface – we can swipe, shake, tilt and talk to our devices to perform different functions. This week’s thing is recording voice audio, and using our voice to interact with our device.

DISCOVER

Voice interaction functionality has been a major feature in recent smartphone releases, such as iOS’s Siri, Android’s Google Now, and Samsung’s S Voice. These voice-activated interfaces allow users to verbally request information, make appointments and set reminders, dial phone numbers, and more. They generally utilise natural language, and may answer questions in a personal or informal manner.

Siri and S-Voice

Siri and S-Voice by Mike Lau

Dragon speech-to-text products let us dictate to and/or command our mobile devices. Dragon Dictation (iOS) is a free app that converts your speech into text that can be utilised by other apps on your phone. Dragon Search (iOS) allows you to use your voice to search websites and other mobile content providers. Dragon for Email is available for Blackberry users, and hopefully Dragon Mobile Assistant (currently in beta in the US) will come to Australia and New Zealand soon for Android users.

SoundCloud was mentioned in last week’s blog post. Although it is mostly music oriented, it is also suitable for all kinds of audio recordings including podcasts, news and story telling.

EXPLORE

Does your smartphone include any native apps for recording voice memos? I often use iOS Voice Memos to quickly record and email a voice message to myself. Maybe you will also find this a useful or different way to capture thoughts on the go?

Download Dragon Dictation (or a similar speech-to-text app) and have a go at dictating a few sentences into the app. How well did it interpret your words? You can use the edit function within the app to correct any mistakes and add punctuation, and the share function lets you send the resulting text to an email, text message, tweet, Facebook status, or simply copy and use it wherever you need it (eg. Evernote, word processor, blogging platform, etc.).

AudioBoo is a social network for sharing audio. It is often used for recording and broadcasting podcasts, and has an active visually impaired community. Or if you’ve already tried SoundCloud from last week, perhaps this week you could have another play with it, but with an emphasis on voice recording. Maybe you could tell a funny story or share something that you’ve enjoyed about doing the 23 Mobile Things program – then share it on Twitter using the #anz23mthings hashtag.

Check out the 23 Mobile Things Pinterest board on voice recording and interaction for more information and links.

THINKING POINTS

Voice interaction and recording apps provide a different method of interaction with mobile devices, and can cater to users who have a personal preference for aural communication, or an aural learning style (rather than visual / written). How could you use these apps in your library to communicate with clients in a non-traditional way?

Speech-to-text and text-to-speech apps are especially useful for making content more accessible to visually and/or hearing impaired library users. Knowing your way around some of the available tools will help you to provide advice to clients with different access requirements. And of course you can use these apps yourself to proactively convert library-generated content in a variety of accessible formats.

Could your library use a service such as AudioBoo or SoundCloud to share oral histories, story time sessions, podcasts or author talks? Both of these audio sharing apps provide options to embed audio files in web pages, so users don’t need to sign up in order to access the recordings.

Sally Cummings @sallysetsforth

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Thing 20: Mobile Music

8 Oct

Radio is quickly becoming a thing of the past as free music streaming services are now common place offering free music whenever you want it, wherever you want it. No longer do you have to ring up a person cities away from you, to beg them to play your favourite song, while you sit at home suffering through the latest pop rubbish until it gets played.

The two most popular websites to do this at are Spotify and Grooveshark.  Spotify can link directly to your Facebook account showing your friends what you have just been listening to (so make sure to turn the permissions off when jamming out to your guilty pleasures) and can be used directly though the website, or downloaded onto your computer. Grooveshark is similar except the Facebook logon option is replaced by Google or Twitter. Both sites offer the same features, you can listen to any song you desire and create playlists of your favourite songs meaning you don’t have to buy the music, but every time you want to listen it, it has to be streamed again.

Last.fm is slightly different. For those of you who have iTunes, you may be familiar with the genius sidebar. Last.fm is the mobile version of this. Linkable to your iTunes, iPod, Spotify accounts and much more it analyses your favourite music and helps recommended to you artists and songs you may like. Expanding your music horizons and giving you the options to buy them on iTunes or add them to your Spotify playlists.

 Jukebox

Photo Courtesy of Invercargill City Libraries and Archives

DISCOVER

Spotify is a free web based and app based music streaming service. It’s also very social, giving you the ability to see what your friends are listening to and allowing you to share what you are listening to with your friends.

Last.fmis an online music recommendation site that has apps that can be downloaded on to your devices.

Groovesharkis a free web based music streaming service that offers many features including the ability to create your own playlists.

Sound Cloud is an online community where you can upload your own original content and share it with online communities and friends.

EXPLORE

Create a Spotify account and then create a playlist. Share these with our #anz23mthings community.

Use Last.fm to discover and listen to some music recommendations. Were they accurate?

Have a listen to my playlist Music based on books

Have a dabble on soundcloud. Use the online recording capability to create some audio content to share, or upload a masterpiece you have already created.

THINKING POINTS
What does your Libraries music CD collection look like at the moment? How could these services affect the borrowing rates of these in the future?

Does your library offer a music download or streaming service for clients? How do you promote it?

How can libraries use programs like sound cloud to promote local talent and patron generated content?

Thanks to Mylee Joseph at 23 mobile Things for helping give me some inspiration for this post.

Bonnie Mager (@bonniemagernz)

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