Ethnographer’s Mobile Tools – Audio Note

December 28, 2011

in ethnographers tools, ethnography, ipad, iphone, Mobility

AudioNote.jpgI’ve decided to publish a short series on mobile tools that can be adapted effectively for the ethnographers craft. Today let’s think about recording the discussion/observations. Typically I use a note book. I write in it and make the odd drawing or sketch. While that’s all happening a digital recorder is usually capturing anything that’s said. Later, that recording will be transcribed and while there are systems to tie together the transcript with the audio tape… that’s more sophisticated than most of us have access to.

Audio Note… is really simple. You create a new note and start the recording. Then either type or draw with your finger or stylus. This was with my finger! Each entry to notes is time stamped. Benefit. Makes it really easy to go back and hear what they said! Optionally you can pause and continue. Key thing is making some notations or adding shifts in the question or the guide as you complete the interview.

Downside. Which I’d enjoy some debate on. Using an iPhone or iPad (iPad is better as a more pad like tool) in this manner still seems more invasive to me than using the old note book and pen/pencil. Still, increasingly… no matter where I go there’s been an iPad on the TV, and mobiles are everywhere. Since we explain we will be using a recording device, or video etc… I’m not sure that using this tech is intruding… I sense it quickly goes into the background. My concern here is.. that the use of such devices might shift how the respondent thinks about me… or what they are thinking about. I’m particularly conscious of this when involved with tech products and so tend not to use them in those situations. So, not yet convinced it is great for all situations. I am convinced it is brilliant for general interviewing and will become the norm.

For the makers of Audio Note – Luminant Software.….

I want the following. I want an account that links my iPhone and my iPad… So I can simultaneously record on both devices. I want to use my iPhone as a video. I want to use my iPad as the note pad and I want both audio streams recorded and the option to shift from one to the other… or quickly find that video moment. Analyzing video today is often too time consuming. However, the opportunity to bring some short clips to life very quickly has a huge bonus factor. I don’t mind if you make this all work through my iCloud!

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