Why is audio embedded in text a good idea?

April 14, 2016

Making the most recent Pick of the Podcasts was a deeply frustrating experience, but I'm not here to moan. At least, not about that. Maybe another time.

One lead appeared to be an extract from an article about pigments. It sounded promising enough to set me off in search of the whole thing, and after a lot of footling around, I eventually found the original audio on SoundCloud. Frustratingly, it was one of a playlist of clips, of "Sound files included in Harvard Gazette stories". But no link from each clip to its story. I'm OK at internet search, so I did eventually run the story down (A wall of color, a window to the past, well worth a read), and it was just as the playlist had promised. There were clips, tucked between paragraphs. No podcast. Just clips.

Why? To prove that the person who wrote the story actually spoke to the source? To give butterfly minds something to alight on? I'm at a loss.

Judging from the playlist, this is something the Harvard Gazette does fairly often. Maybe other places do it too. And then, while I was still puzzling out the purpose, along comes SoundCite, "a simple-to-use tool that lets you add inline audio to your story. The audio is not isolated; it plays right under the text you choose."

And again, why? Some of the friends I discussed it with think it is a good idea and one that will enhance reading online. I remain unconvinced. So go ahead. Convince me.

By Jeremy