Tristan Fearne and Chris Bowley who work for BBC Audio and Music Interactive have recently posted about a new project – Find, Listen and Label. It’s an audio annotation project that takes linear audio and allows users to create section markers and then annotate the audio with text. It’s sort of a wikipedia for radio programmes. It also means that a great deal of context can be applied to audio – which, I guess, will help normal users be able to search and find radio that’s of interest to them. The first test is with the speech programme All in the Mind.
It’s a great interface and as a user you really feel like you’re providing value to others, something which should encourage use.
At the moment it’s very geared towards users providing the annoatation, but I think it would be excellent if the producers did to. They could be providing the written version of those directors commentary you get on DVDs. I think you could really deepen the programme-listener relationship if you had extra value placed over the top of audio. It would work better with some programmes than others, but having Rachel from the Chris Moyles show explaining what happened off-air at certain times or an insight into the thought that went behind features could be really interesting. In fact, a breakfast show would be a really useful experiment, as you could have the different members of the team joining in and commenting.
Given the choice between a vanilla listen again and an annotated one, i’m sure i’d end up logging on more often to hear what I missed as well as what went on during the bits i’ve already heard.