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Audio Search

For WNYC journalists and producers, the Audio Search feature provides fast access to archival material. Meanwhile, for listeners, Audio Search provides them with accurate information with respect to audio available online.

This is one in a series of special reports for “Survival Guide 2: Radio’s New Media Leaders,” a supplement to the Sept. 24, 2008 issue.

(click thumbnail)It began as an effort to give WNYC listeners online searchable access to the speeches of residential candidates Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Giuliani. But today, WNYC’s Audio Search engine allows listeners to find specific audio clips from this public radio station’s extensive archives.

All they have to do is enter the keywords for the clip they are seeking — such as “McCain” and “Palin,” or “Obama” and “Berlin” — and the WNYC Audio Search engine calls up the clips that most closely correspond to their requests. From there, the clips can be played using the WNYC.org’s online player.

(click thumbnail)Jacob Smullyan“What we do is feed our audio using RSS feeds to our service provider, EveryZing,” said Jacob Smullyan, WNYC’s senior developer.

“They analyze the audio using a speech-to-text engine that creates transcripts of the content, noting at which points in the shows that the words occur. Although this transcript isn’t perfect, it is easily good enough to provide a basis for text searches using keywords.”

Data gathered between Feb. 27 to April 4 indicate that 55,600 page views were generated by surfers using Audio Search, spread over about 18,500 distinct “sessions” or multiple hits by one visitor.

For WNYC journalists and producers, the Audio Search feature provides fast access to archival material. Meanwhile, for listeners, Audio Search provides them with accurate information with respect to audio available online.

“We aren’t able to give detailed descriptions of what we are offering online in advance of interviews actually taking place,” Smullyan said. “With Audio Search, we can provide such detailed information after the fact. It makes our content much more relevant and accessible.”

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