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MIT Libraries – MIT150 Infinite History Project

How does MIT Libraries use online video?

The MIT150 Infinite History Project is a digital oral history with hundreds of interviews of individuals who have made extraordinary contributions in their fields and to MIT. The online video archive was created to celebrate MIT’s 150th anniversary and includes the likes of Noam Chomsky, Raymond Stata, and 8 Nobel laureates.

What is the motivation for captioning and transcription?

The MIT Video Productions team needed a solution that made this rich content searchable and engaging, while also making it accessible to people with hearing disabilities. MIT wanted visitors to be able not only to watch a video, but also to search within a video and across the entire collection of interviews.


3Play Media transcribed the video library and implemented an interactive, engaging user experience. Visitors to the Infinite History Project are able to watch the interview videos, search the accompanying transcripts, and click on any word to play a video from that exact point. Even more exciting is the ability to search across the entire collection of interviews. Search results are returned on visual timelines indicating where a search term appears inside each matching video. Users can view a specific section of video or drill down to the transcript by clicking on a segment in the timeline. It’s possible to sort interview subjects by category to look for a particular topic of interest. The transcripts have become part of the MIT Archives collection, where they will remain available to future researchers.

Screenshot of Boston.com on laptop screen

We have been very pleased with our collaboration with 3Play Media. They are responsive and innovative. They are continually implementing improvements to their processes with the objectives of doing it better, faster, and cheaper.

3Play Media provided the technology and critical support behind MIT’s Infinite History website, an innovative text-based searchable video database of interviews with key members of the MIT community. It has been heralded by historians, researchers and our greater user community as an invaluable interface for navigating through the nearly 300 hours of transcribed content.

Larry Gallagher
MIT Libraries
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