Books with Voices: Paper Transcripts as a Tangible Interface to Oral Histories

Scott R. Klemmer, Jamey Graham1, and Gregory J. Wolff2
(Professor James A. Landay)

Our contextual inquiry into the practices of oral historians unearthed a curious incongruity: while oral historians consider interview recordings to be a central historical artifact, these recordings sit unused after a written transcript is produced. We hypothesized that this is largely because books are more usable than recordings, so we created Books with Voices [1]: bar-code augmented paper transcripts enabling fast, random access to digital video interviews on a PDA. We present quantitative results of an evaluation of this tangible interface with 13 participants. They found this lightweight, structured access to original recordings to be useful, offering substantial benefits with minimal overhead. Oral historians found a level of emotion in the video not available in the printed transcript. The video also helped readers clarify the text and observe nonverbal cues.

Figure 1: Accessing digital video by scanning transcripts

Figure 2: PDA video display of oral histories

Figure 3: Augmented paper transcripts produced by Books with Voices; from an oral history with Professor Carlo Séquin

S. R. Klemmer, J. Graham, G. J. Wolff, and J. A. Landay, Books with Voices: Paper Transcripts as a Tangible Interface to Oral Histories, UC Berkeley Computer Science Division, Report No. UCB/CSD 02/1199, September 2002.
J. M. Graham and J. J. Hull, "Video Paper: A Paper-based Interface for Skimming and Watching Video," Int. Conf. Consumer Electronics, Los Angeles, CA, July 2002.
1Ricoh Innovations, Inc.
2Ricoh Innovations, Inc.

More information ( or

Send mail to the author : (

Edit this abstract