audio transcription and the undead

Let's forget the fact I've blogged more this month than I intend to in a whole year …

What I really want to mention is that I'm reading Dracula by Bram Stoker and noticed these very interesting bits (or should I say 'bites'?) in Chapter 17.

In this chapter the character of Mina Harker is becoming acquainted with a friend of her now dead friend, Lucy. This friend, Dr. Seward, uses a phonograph to record his patient notes, much as my dad used to use a micro-cassette back in the late 1970's and 1980's. Mina, on the other hand, uses her cutting edge writing tool, the typewriter, to make her diary entries easily readable.

The funny thing is that Seward confesses to Mina that he doesn't have a way to get to specific points within each recording, i.e. he doesn't have a way to denote and retrieve audio at a specific time with advanced knowledge of what passages exist at those points. Um, sound familiar?

😛

MINA HARKER'S JOURNAL

29 September.

Again he paused, and I could see that he was trying to invent an excuse. At length, he stammered out, "You see, I do not know how to pick out any particular part of the diary."

I could not but smile, at which he grimaced. "I gave myself away that time!" he said. "But do you know that, although I have kept the diary for months past, it never once struck me how I was going to find any particular part of it in case I wanted to look it up?"

Mina goes on to transcribe his recordings so that the text can be compared with other diary entries by principal characters as they try to formulate the totality of Dracula's agenda.

DR. SEWARD'S DIARY

30 September.

Harker has gone back, and is again collecting material. He says that by dinner time they will be able to show a whole connected narrative. He thinks that in the meantime I should see Renfield, as hitherto he has been a sort of index to the coming and going of the Count. I hardly see this yet, but when I get at the dates I suppose I shall. What a good thing that Mrs. Harker put my cylinders into type! We never could have found the dates otherwise.

Update (or "later" as in the novel): It might be a nice homage to sync the transcript to the audio of Orson Welles' radio play based on the book.

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