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RichardKainz
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Post by RichardKainz » August 27th, 2006, 9:06 am

When Katrina came through the Gulf Coast, Orlando got many evacuees. At the time I was staring to work on a project I was calling PublicDomainAudio.org. As a psychologist to Katrina relief efforts for a few months and I see that the great ideas moved on without my input. The NY Times article just alerted me that you've been up since Oct. so I am pleased to note that what I wanted to happen is well on its way.
The article mentioned several other site with similar ambitions. I hoped to use open-source software to operate the site which could also be downloaded at the site so others could establish mirror sites or alternatives with the same infra-structure. Build a standard pipe for material to move from performer to consumer.
Below is an memo that briefly covers what some of my ideas have been. As I thought about this last summer I realiized how huge and important a tool this can be; beyond my resources to create, so I glad its underway.
I would suggest a presenter page attached to each catalog entry to let the presenter to credit the producers and a consumer rating page also attached to allow readers to review entries as a guide to quality of material and production. The more you succeed the more difficult it will be to sort out the worthwhile performances from the so-so performances. Reader ratings will be important.

Public Domain Audio

General Idea
Create a web site that parallels Project Guttenberg with audio material on which the base material is in the public domain, e.g. the works of Shakespeare, and the creators of the audio production contribute them for free distribution. The goal is to make as much material as possible available to as many people as possible at no cost to either creators or receivers.

Anticipated Initial Resources
1. Some five to seven people with relevant expertise and skills to brainstorm the notion and outline the next steps and the resources needed to proceed (2-3 evening meetings).
2. The relevant experience might include drama/forensics/literature production, legal issues, technical issues (programming, site hosting, site security, site maintenance), management/organization, and finance/accounting.

Some Preliminary Ideas
1. All submissions will be available for download in perpetuity unless the site fails to generate enough volunteered support to maintain the site or the material submitted offends some legal requirement necessitating its removal. If any material is removed reasonable attempts will be made to inform the creator and to restore all rights to them.
2. The submissions most frequently downloaded will be maintained directly on line within the resources available and the remaining submissions will be archived on removable media and remounted on request.
3. Each submission will be accompanied with a description and a listing of the creators prepared by the creator to be available who may wish to download submission.
4. Possibly the architecture of the system could use some form of peer-to-peer file sharing format if the site can be protected from liabilities arising from breaches in security or intentional misuse of the sites resources, etc.
5. The programming for the site will be open-source so others may establish parallel sites with material they find appropriate.
6. Any material found on this site will be available to anyone to use without alteration and maintaining the associated description and credits for the creators.
7. I expect that when the site is available submissions will become available from a variety of sources including academic/community/professional drama/forensic groups, individuals wanting something to be shared, narcissists hoping for attention to their ranting, etc. and storage space and bandwidth will lead the maintenance problems.
8. I imagine the whole system to be software driven. The software will need to be volunteer designed in a manner that the coding tasks can be done by as many volunteer coders as can be found. Alan imagines a community like Linux has to create this, people who believe in the goal of the project, credit for their skillful programming, or have lots and lots of time on their hands.


I'll be using libraVox.

hugh
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Post by hugh » August 27th, 2006, 10:32 am

hi richard, zietgeist is an impressive thing, eh? librivox actually started august 10 2005, and there were a whole host of people who were already doing somethign similar (either independently or in groups), or planning similar stuff... but this project seems to have been successful, prob for a number of reasons, but the main one was low barrier to entry, and a group of keeners who joined on early and did some wonderful stuff. as you outline in your memo, so librivox progressed more or less: building on available resources: -gutenberg.org for texts;
-archive.org for free hosting;
-free software: wordpress blog software; phpBB forum software; a wiki; audacity audio recording software...

among other things.

while librivox, i think, has some really interesting lessons, to package our operating procedures ... which have evolved in an organic way to meet the particular challenges of this project would be ... well, difficult.

re: ratings, we're staying away from that for various reasons,, see:
http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=454

but someone came up with an external site designed to do librivox ratings ...not sure where it got to tho.

earthcalling
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Post by earthcalling » August 27th, 2006, 10:34 am

Welcome, Richard. Welcome.

David

Starlite
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Post by Starlite » August 27th, 2006, 10:48 am

hugh wrote:re: ratings, we're staying away from that for various reasons,, see: http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=454

but someone came up with an external site designed to do librivox ratings ...not sure where it got to tho.
http://www.learnoutloud.com/content/blog/archives/2006/07/guide_to_libriv.html

Beware!
"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable
people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress,
therefore, depends on unreasonable people." George Bernard Shaw

kayray
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Post by kayray » August 27th, 2006, 11:01 am

hugh wrote: but someone came up with an external site designed to do librivox ratings ...not sure where it got to tho.
Someone = Gord, and the link is here :)
http://audiobookreviewer.ning.com/

(I think the general consensus was that since it's off-site and not officially affiliated with librivox, it didn't really conflict with our no-ratings policy?)

Hi Richard, welcome!
Kara
http://kayray.org/
--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

kri
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Post by kri » August 27th, 2006, 2:48 pm

RichardKainz wrote: I would suggest a presenter page attached to each catalog entry to let the presenter to credit the producers and a consumer rating page also attached to allow readers to review entries as a guide to quality of material and production.
There aren't any producers perse, unless you mean the book coordinators, and meta coordinators. Our audio is pretty amateur, in that the readers record the text, edit it themselves, and send the files to their meta coordinators. Sometimes another person does the editing, but for the most part it's all done by one person.

However, we're currently trying to get a database-driven catalog up, that will hopefully have something along the lines of what you're talking about (not the ratings though). We'd like to make it possible to search recordings by the reader that made them, so that if you like the reader you can view a page with all their recordings.

This is a great project, and I hope you enjoy your time with us :)

GordMackenzie
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Post by GordMackenzie » August 28th, 2006, 5:56 am

kayray wrote:
Someone = Gord, and the link is here :)
http://audiobookreviewer.ning.com/

(I think the general consensus was that since it's off-site and not officially affiliated with librivox, it didn't really conflict with our no-ratings policy?)
Yes, you have it right, Kara. The "audio book reviewer" at Ning was just an experiment to see how the ratings idea would fly... Unfortunately (or fortunately?), the site never took off. It seems that while a number of people have brought up the idea of ratings, the majority, it seems, are not really all that interested.
Gord Mackenzie
gord[dot]mackenzie[at]gmail.com
Librivox Wiki Page: [url=http://librivox.org/wiki/moin.cgi/GordMackenzie]GordMackenzie[/url]

Sandra
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Post by Sandra » August 29th, 2006, 12:59 am

I'm opposed to a ratings system for Librivox because of the discouragement factor. The first few recordings I sent would have gone in the bin if they had been "rated". They were frankly awful--shaky, nervous voice; bad sound quality, etc.

But with practice things improved, particularly sound quality. A small degree of confidence builds up after experimentation over time. Think how much untapped enthusiasm is out there, ready to be honed over several readings into very presentable audio books! If the first halting efforts of a new reader, or even the relatively polished efforts of a veteran reader, are judged by standards that realistically don't apply to amateurs, not many would continue to bother.

The number one reason I joined Librivox and started recording was that I had listened to so many of the audio books on offer I began to feel like a freeloader! A contribution was in order. Then I realised I like it. Being judged and found wanting for my amateurish hamming in the beginning, or even now, would be discouraging.

Remember, it's FREE. The more the merrier!
Sandra
[color=purple]As usual, the grownup world made very little sense to me... (Manny Ellis,[i] Neighbourhood Tales[/i])[/color]

fae
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Post by fae » August 29th, 2006, 9:20 am

Starlite wrote:
hugh wrote:re: ratings, we're staying away from that for various reasons,, see: http://librivox.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=454

but someone came up with an external site designed to do librivox ratings ...not sure where it got to tho.
http://www.learnoutloud.com/content/blog/archives/2006/07/guide_to_libriv.html

Beware!
Thanks Starlite for both the link and the warning!

See this is exactly what I was talking about on the other thread. These are just opinions and as such they are missleading (not to mention they stink!)

I've listened to many of the books on this list and I disagree with almost all of the comments! The one's I do agree with are the obviously uncontestable, like noise in the background. The rest is completely subjective.

Also the criteria for rating I believe to be in error. Whomever made up that list is judging the recordings against professional recordings and is disregarding that as our recordings are free, and therefore there is little to be lost but time if the listener happens not to like the work downloaded.

jimmowatt
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Post by jimmowatt » August 29th, 2006, 10:12 am

fae wrote:Also the criteria for rating I believe to be in error. Whomever made up that list is judging the recordings against professional recordings and is disregarding that as our recordings are free, and therefore there is little to be lost but time if the listener happens not to like the work downloaded.
No I disagree with you most vehemently.
I may even turn into a cartoon character turning red and shaking my fist.

Their criteria was right for their web site.
Their listeners are accustomed to professional recordings so if they are rating them for their listeners then it makes absolute sense to review the recordings in those terms.

I haven't really decided which side of this particular fence I sit upon.

I think the way I would like it to work for Librivox is to strongly urge new members to try out a short recording before they start recording books.
It is such a shame when a really good book has just one or two chapters that are very difficult to listen to. It creates a bad impression for all of it and you finish the book feeling a little dissatisfied (I'm thinking of a particular example but I'm not going to mention which one).
The one I'm thinking of has many beautiful readings but one reader does a few chapters at breakneck pace.
This reader has a fine clear voice and if they had only slowed down a little it would have been a splendid recording.
That is a beginners mistake and usually vanishes very quickly once it is pointed out.

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