by Binyam Gebrekidan Gebre
The AVATecH project (Advancing Video Audio Technology in Humanities Research) aims at investigating, developing and applying advanced technology for semi-automatic annotation of collected audio-visual recordings used in humanities research. Currently, even the simplest annotations of, for example, recorded dialogs take too much time and effort. By making the annotation process more efficient through the use of automatic detectors, more data can be annotated more efficiently, allowing new possibilities for search and corpus analysis and better theory building.
Initial research will focus on the creation of detector components which, given media recordings, generate lists of segments and annotations. Such detectors can be invoked from within annotation tools such as the widely used and proven ELAN software and from a batch-processing framework, to process a number of recordings in one go.
The project is organized in two major phases:
1. First, low hanging fruit detectors will be identified that can operate on a selected collection of typical audio/video material. They will be integrated into ELAN and so that the developers can interact with researchers during the evaluation.
2. Second, more advanced and complex detector tasks will be tackled after the results of the low hanging fruit detectors have been evaluated.
The detectors developed will be made available via interactive annotation tools and batch processing. In this project, two Max Planck Institutes (the MPI for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen and the MPI for Social Anthropology in Halle) and two Fraunhofer Institutes (the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS in Sankt Augustin and the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI in Berlin) are cooperating in different capacities. The Max Planck Institutes act as experts for the research driven questions resulting from an analysis of the AV material and for user-friendly interaction tools. The Fraunhofer Institutes act as experts for digital sound and video processing methods. More information on AVATecH can be found on the project’s homepage.