Embedding Audio and Video Playback In Search Results

by Jonathan Jacobsen Thursday, February 28, 2013 12:20 PM


Over the past year or so, we’ve helped several clients add digitized audio and video to their databases (mostly archival or historical databases). This content exists as both the digitized audio and video files, as well as the metadata to describe them. We've then helped publish the combined information in search results, embedding an audio/video player on the same page as the metadata.

Here are two examples of archival records for audio recordings, with a YouTube video embedded into the page:

The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network

The New Westminster Archives

With both of these records, only an audio recording was available. We recommended hosting the media with YouTube to give it more exposure (users searching through YouTube may come across it and then be led back to the originating website to search and discover more resources they might be interested in). However, YouTube doesn’t permit uploading of purely audio files, so to create a video, we suggested making a slide show. Almost every Windows and Mac computer now includes software for creating a video slideshow from one or more photos and an audio file, so this is easily accomplished. Ideally the photo(s) will be of the people or places in the audio recording.

With the slideshow created and saved as a video file, and uploaded to the organization’s YouTube channel, it was then a simple matter to add a VideoID field to the database and wrap some HTML around it in the web display to embed the YouTube video player right in the page. This method relies on You Tube to do all the work streaming the download which otherwise might incur significant bandwidth to the host site for large files.

Here’s another example, from the Heritage Burnaby website:

In this case, the record is part of an extensive database of digitized oral histories, where an interview is split into multiple audio "tracks" (select the "View all Interview Tracks" on the above page to view all the ones associated with this record). 

Rather than rely on an external service for media hosting (and the need to make  video files, and to avoid the advertising that appears over top of them in playback), Heritage Burnaby opted to use the Andornot Embedded Media Player, a jQuery-based application that plays back audio or video using HTML5 or Flash. This award-winning project was described in detail in an earlier blog post.

This technology works well when there is a large amount of media and more control is desired over its presentation than is available from YouTube and similar services.  An in-house solution may also be required for access to the media from organizations which block social media sites.

The above methods are just a few of those available for connecting researchers and users with your audio and video content, and they apply equally to websites powered by Inmagic software as to other systems.

Please contact us any help we can provide with similar projects for your collections.

Tags: audio | video

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