Soundcite: Digital tool review

Riley Wymer is a student in Digital Humanities at Belmont University.

SoundCite directly links brief audio clips embedded in text that a user can choose, edit, and apply to their website. SoundCite recommends using only a couple seconds from clips, applying this clip sparingly but effectively, and utilizing different parts from the same audio clip to the text.

This site can be accessed by an user and is not limited to scholarly use. You simply copy the link to the audio URL and load it into SoundCite. Then, you select your start and end time as well as the number of plays and what text to which you’d like to link the sound. Soundcite then outputs an embed code that can be pasted where the text would normally go on your webpage. This cannot be used for a simple Microsoft Word doc or PDF.

SoundCite was generated by KnightLab from Northwestern University by their School of Engineering and MEDILL. KnightLab describes themselves as “a team of technologists and journalists working at advancing news media innovation through exploration and experimentation.”

The benefit of SoundCite is that the audio is not isolated media that is linked to or opened separately, but in fact embedded in the text. SoundCite suggests using their technology for essays on music (pulling in the song of discussion), spoken word (incorporating sound effects), or news articles (building environments relating to the topic).

A major drawback to SoundCite is the requirement to include an audio URL rather than a link to a video with audio in which SoundCite could easily strip away the video or even link to a file on your personal computer. SoundCloud has imposed rate limits on usage and will deactivate SoundCloud clips upon overuse; however, SoundCite offers a solution by registering for a SoundCloud API key. This becomes even more frustrating when considering in order to get around the audio URL issue, most people will turn to SoundCloud to upload their audio clips and assign them a URL. SoundCite even admits its users should avoid SoundCloud despite no other “novice-friendly audio hosting services” being available. Google Drive and DropBox will not work either. Their go-around has been to upload media onto WordPress and use that URL.

Steps:

  1. Find an audio clip online you would like to link to text. If the audio does not have a URL already: create a SoundCloud account and upload the audio there.
  2. Copy the audio URL and head to soundcite.knightlab.com
  3. Click the green “Make a Clip” button
  4. Paste the URL into SoundCite’s Step 1
  5. Scroll down and set the clip options to adjust start and end times as well as number of plays and text to link
  6. Scroll down and copy the embed code from SoundCite’s Step 3
  7. Paste the embed code into your website in place of the text to which audio will be linked
  8. If your link deactivates you will need to sign up for a SoundCloud API Key by following the steps listed on SoundCite’s “Attention” blurb

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