Tag Archives: sarah delorme

front cover of Thomas D. Craven diary

Encoding the Thomas D. Craven Diary

In the spring of 2018, several library and archives staff from Thomas P. O’Neill (Nancy Adams, Meg Critch, Sarah DeLorme, Anna Kijas) and John J. Burns Library (Kathleen Monahan, Annalisa Moretti) began a collaborative transcription and encoding project of a 1917 diary written by Boston College student, Thomas D. Craven. This diary was written during the spring semester of Craven’s senior year when he began serving in the Army Air Corps Medical Corps during World War I.

Thomas D. Craven, c.1917

Thomas D. Craven (The Sub turri: The Yearbook of Boston College, 1917).

Nancy and I created a Guide to Transcription to help guide the transcription process for the team members. This guide also provides basic TEI encoding directions, because we wanted to begin identifying elements and attributes as we transcribed each entry with the hope that it would make the later review and encoding phase a bit easier and streamlined. After the project team reviewed the guide and provided input, everyone began transcribing approximately 50 entries per person. Kathleen and Sarah began working on a prosopography to identify people, places, and organizations mentioned in the diary. Meg began developing the TEI header for the diary, which will include descriptions about the electronic edition and manuscript source. The transcription phase was completed in December 2018 and the next phase has begun to review and make corrections, as well as do a closer encoding of the text.

Here is the first page from the diary dated January 1, 1917 followed by the first draft of the encoded transcription:

Page 1 of Thomas D. Craven Diary from January 1, 1917

Diary entry dated January 1, 1917


Encoded transcription of diary entry dated January 1, 1917

Encoded transcription of diary entry dated January 1, 1917

Our next task is to review the transcriptions and further encode the text according to the TEI. This will also require a discussion on the use of specific elements and attributes. The group agreed that we will use TAPAS to render and publish the TEI files from this project, although we may consider creating a stand alone project website where we can present the edition with additional content, images, or visualizations.

The work of this group aims to not only make this content more accessible and visible to a wider community, but to expand our own expertise and understanding of the TEI through project-based learning. The TEI files and guidelines will demonstrate how we chose to encode these texts and can be re-used for other projects or pedagogical purposes. In addition, encoding these materials will make them easier to discover and access online and will further promote the John J. Burns Library collections. Project-based learning can be used as a model for future initiatives at Boston College that aim to develop expertise and skills in areas of digital scholarship.

This project is currently under development, but you can view a sample of encoded text from this diary (created previously) and other special collections materials found in our TEI Learning Docs project hosted in TAPAS. It is part of our ongoing effort to learn the TEI, explore research and pedagogical applications of the TEI to primary source documents, and make the process and contents visible and accessible to a wider community of students, scholars, and archives/library professionals.


Source citation: Diary, Thomas D. Craven papers, BC.2004.121, John J. Burns Library, Boston College, http://hdl.handle.net/2345.2/BC2004_121_ref5.

Making a Podcast with Audacity

This tutorial was written by Sarah DeLorme, Associate Digital Scholarship Librarian.

The Digital Studio gets a lot of queries from our patrons regarding audio editing. There are so many great programs to choose from, it can be sometimes be overwhelming to know where to start. Audacity is a professional quality open source audio editor. It is intuitive to use and can easily be used to put together a great podcast.

Setting up

Before you even open the Audacity software, it is important to set yourself up for success in your recording. Audacity will let you connect to an external microphone, or the built in microphone at your workstation. Whichever recording device you choose, be sure to record in a quiet indoor space where you will not be interrupted. (A great place to record is the Sound Room in the Digital Studio. You can even reserve it online!) It also helps to work from a script, so that you can practice and pace yourself as you go along.


When you open Audacity, you will see this blank workspace.

Use the dropdown menus to select your recording device and your recording mode (you can choose either mono or stereo- mono is recommended for podcasts).

Click on the top numbered bar to check the input levels of your microphone. Try to keep at least a foot of space between yourself and the microphone, and speak clearly and at a moderate volume. The ideal range is a fully green bar. Avoid orange and red levels- that means you are too close or too loud!

Press the red circle button to begin your recording. (Helpful hint: leave a few seconds of empty noise at the start of the recording to sample during the noise reduction process later.) As you record, a waveform will appear on the track. Try to keep your waveform at a relatively similar level throughout, so that the volume is not fluctuating. Avoid very small waveforms which might be too soft to hear, as well as very large waveforms which might be so loud you get feedback.

Noise Reduction

Using the select tool (⌶) click and drag to highlight an empty noise portion of your recording. If you left a few seconds of silence before you started recording, use that! Otherwise, try to find a pause in the recording.

On the top menu, select effect> Noise Reduction> Get noise profile.

Next, use Command + A (CTRL+A on Windows) to select the entire track. It will look like this:

Navigate back to the noise reduction panel (Effect>Noise Reduction) and select “OK”. You will notice that your waveform will smooth out as the effect erases some of the background noise.

Creating a Second Track

Go to Tracks>Add new> Mono track. Remember, the new track will begin recording wherever the playhead is. Drag the playhead to the end of the first recording to make a seamless transition, like this:

You can move the clip around the track by selecting the “timeshift” tool (which looks like a double-headed arrow), clicking the clip, and dragging it to the desired position. You can also reorder the tracks by clicking and holding in the blank space of the left hand track menu and dragging up or down.

Deleting portions of your recording

Use the select tool to highlight the part of the recording you want to delete. (Helpful hint: use the zoom tool (🔍) to magnify the waveform and zero in on the word or phrase you wish to remove) Press the “Delete” button to remove the selected recording.

Importing and Exporting

Most podcasts have some catchy into music, and Audacity makes it easy to import a music file.  Go to File>import>audio and select the desired track. This will import the entire song. Trim the track to desired length by highlighting the extra music and pressing the delete button. To fade out, highlight the clip and go to Effects>Fade out. You will see the waveform change into a cone shape as the music tapers off.

NOTE: If you are using music in your podcast, it is very important to make sure you are not infringing on the artist’s copyright. If you are unsure about whether or not you can use a clip, ask a librarian- they can help!

To export your project as a final sound file, navigate to File>export> and select your preferred file type.

NOTE: To export an .mp3, Audacity will require you to download an additional file from their website. This is an mp3 encoding library. The prompt will provide you with a link to the download, as well as instructions. (This site is also full of tips and tutorials if you need further assistance with Audacity.)

Once your project is exported, you can open it in any program that plays audio files. However, it will be compressed, so you cannot go back and edit it. To preserve the tracks so that you can go back and edit them, you will need to save your project.

Saving your Project

Select File> Save  Project. This will save your project as an .aup file, preserving your track information so that you can open it up again later to edit it. You will only be able to open an .aup file in Audacity. This can be edited from any computer, as long as Audacity is installed.

NOTE:When you save your project, it will generate a project file (yourtitle.AUP) and a project folder (yourtitle_data).

Be sure to save both of these to your Google Drive, flash drive, or wherever you are saving your project. The folder contains your assets, and the .aup file contains the blueprint for your project. You will need both to reopen your project successfully!

If you need further assistance with your podcast, you can always contact the Digital Studio staff at digitalstudio@bc.edu


Creating a Timeline with TimelineJS and JSON

This tutorial was written by Sarah DeLorme, Associate Digital Scholarship Librarian.

The John LaFarge stained glass digital guide is a great way for users to explore the varied works of LaFarge in one accessible site. The two interactive timelines featured there help to visualize the chronology of LaFarge’s life and his work. These timelines are generated using an open-source tool called TimelineJS by Knight Lab at Northwestern University. TimelineJS can work with a Google spreadsheet to automatically create and populate a customizable timeline. This is a great option for many people, however the Digital Scholarship group was interested in hosting the timeline data locally—not pulled in via Google. In order to migrate the data, we recreated the timeline using JSON.

JSON is a format for structuring data that uses JavaScript object notation. It is used for exchanging data between a browser and server. JSON text is simple to read and work with,  and is easily parsed by machines. The TimelineJS JSON format starts with a single JSON object (the timeline), and then populates it with shorter lists of objects (properties), which become the items on the timeline. The properties are events, title, era, and scale. The properties that are used will depend on the content of the timeline, and the nature of the data. The only property that is required to create a timeline is events.

Below is an example of a timeline JSON object with the title property displayed.

Each property contains its own list of properties, like a nesting doll. For both title and events properties, the items in that list are known as “Slide objects”. Slide objects include: start_date, end_date, text, and media properties. (start_date is the only slide object required to generate an event).

Each slide object then has its own list of properties for you to define, which will be where the data will be inserted. For example, the start_date slide object will have a list of date objects like year, month, and day. The values for these properties (the data) is entered in quotation marks, as seen in the example below.

Each property in the event object is used to customize the slides of your timeline. Aside from the start date and headline, the media property enables the embedding of images, videos, music, and more. Each event on the timeline is separated in its own set of curly brackets ({ }) within the “events” property, and separated by a comma.

Two JSON files were created for the John LaFarge stained glass digital guide, because there are two timelines featured on the site; one of LaFarge’s life, and another for the chronology of his stained glass work. The second step in this process of hosting our timeline data locally was to integrate these timelines into our website, which is hosted on Omeka. This was done by adding a few lines of JavaScript to our web page, with the help of Jesse Martinez, the Library Applications Developer.

The LaFarge site was created in the exhibit-builder module of Omeka, so the JavaScript was added to the show.php file in our theme directory, the path being: exhibit-builder/exhibits/show.php. There were three items that needed to be added to pull in our timeline: a link tag (to load the CSS), a script tag (to load the JavaScript), and an additional script tag to generate the timeline.

You will notice that since there are two separate timelines on this site, a function was added to the final script tag to identify each separate JSON file. The function decides which timeline data to pull in depending on which timeline has been identified: timeline1-embed or timeline2-embed.

Once the JavaScript was added to our file, the last step was to call the JavaScript on the pages where we wanted the timelines to appear. To do this, we navigated to the exhibit page in Omeka. We added a text box item, and then inserted this div using the HTML editor:

<div id=“timeline1-embed” style=“width: 100%; height: 600px;”>&nbsp;</div>

This told the page what to pull in, and how to style it. The div for the second page looked similar, but called in the second timeline using a different identifier:

<div id=“timeline2-embed” style=“width: 100%; height: 600px;”>&nbsp;</div>

The end result is a locally hosted, fully functional timeline.

If you are interested in further TimelineJS JSON  documentation, or would like to learn how to further customize your timeline, please consult the Knight Lab’s official guide.

Get to Know BC’s Digital Scholarship Team: Sarah DeLorme

This post was written by Sarah DeLorme, Digital Services Assistant.

I have recently joined the Boston College Libraries team as the Digital Services Assistant. In this role, I am able to work with student employees to provide access and support for patrons utilizing the resources available in the Digital Studio. I give software assistance to those using the studio space, or refer them to other knowledgeable staff members. Additionally, I support Digital Scholarship initiatives by participating in outreach activities and exploring open source technologies.  

Prior to coming to BC, I worked in circulation at the Newton Free Library and also spent time working on a digital scholarship project at Northeastern University. I am passionate about digital humanities tools because of their scope and versatility, and I enjoy having opportunities to collaborate across different areas of study. My research interests are focused on accessibility, user experience and design, and it is my aim to connect people with digital resources that they can feel confident about using.

Sarah DeLorme ,”The Crystal Planet” (2016)

I have a background in fine art and design, and I spend most of my free time painting and maintaining my digital portfolio. I especially enjoy illustrative art, and hope to someday have my work published in a children’s book. Most of my paintings are done in traditional media, but I am currently learning digital techniques and exploring creative software—especially options that are open source! Other activities that I enjoy include baking, traveling and tending to my houseplants.