Fieldwork Recordings—Dictionary of American Regional EnglishIn the Collection


From reel-to-reel tapes to .mp4s, the "DARE Tapes" have been converted into many audio formats over the last fifty years. It would be difficult to compile a list of all who have played a part in bringing this collection to 21st-century ears. Therefore, we wish to direct you to this list which contains the names of most of those who contributed to the recordings and accompanying metadata, including the Fieldworkers themselves. However, we would be remiss if we did not recognize the exceptional efforts of certain individuals and organizations who were instrumental in making this collection accessible online.

"Bleepers" (2012–2016)

A dedicated group of students, staff, and volunteers devoted many hours to preparing these recordings for online publication. At DARE, we (affectionately) referred to all those who prepared the recordings as "Bleepers," and the project was internally called "The Bleeping Project." Every recording was first listened to by a Bleeper who used the open-source software Audacity to add a tone to cover any private information. The same recording was then listened to by a "Checker." There were many lively discussions about what to bleep as the process inevitably evolved over time. (Local business owners? Informants' famous ancestors? Old Man X down the road? Do we bleep the names of ghosts?!) In the end, all efforts were made to balance the privacy of the speakers and other community members with the preservation of information of historical value. It was not easy! The Bleepers and Checkers did a really great bleeping job, and we thank them: Christa Berce, Ruby Blau, Sarah Calvert, Ainslie Campbell, Bingbing Chen, Meaghan Connell, Rebecca Cook, Amanda Ezell, Cris Font-Santiago, Trevor Fraser, Benjamin Heins, Erin Leary, Thomas Jack Neiweem, Brad Oestreich, Laura Peterson, Mona Sawan, Julie Schnebly, Lucy Sears, Trini Stickle, Devan Valona, Brontë Wieland, and Dominic Weisse.

Digitization Project and Posting of the Audio Recordings (2003–2017)

Kurdylo and his team created an invaluable database of metadata pertaining to the fieldwork, including the audio materials. While digitizing the recordings, they also extracted from the full interviews all of the readings of "The Story of Arthur the Rat." These "Arthur clips" were included in the original digital collection titled "American Languages: Our Nation's Many Voices." The database was used to generate the metadata for the "Arthur clips," and it laid the groundwork for the full collection of audio recordings in 2017.

Working with the Digital Collections Center to post the full collection were DARE staff members Julie Schnebly, Elizabeth Gardner, George Goebel, Joan Hall, and Yuhong (Jake) Zhu.

The project could not have been accomplished without the work of colleagues at the UW–Madison's Digital Collections Center. We are grateful to Peter Gorman, Steven Dast, Jesse Henderson, Cat Phan, and Karen Rattunde for their professionalism, patience, and flexibility.

Transcripts Pilot Project (2013–2017)

The transcriptions of the recordings are a valuable resource and many hours were given to providing an initial sampling by these UW–Madison faculty, students, and DARE staff: Kelly Abrams, Amanda Ezell, Benjamin Heins, Eva Kuske, Eric Raimy, Erin Leary, Blake Rodgers, and Tom Purnell.