The work behind a video digital collection in CUHK Digital Repository - A Grain of Sand: Poems from Hong Kong

What do you expect from a video digital collection? Fast streaming? High-definition pictures? Clear voices? Whenever our Digital Servi... thumbnail 1 summary
What do you expect from a video digital collection? Fast streaming? High-definition pictures? Clear voices? Whenever our Digital Services Team has the opportunity to handle a digital collection with audio and video items, we will investigate various ways to exploit the full potential of the collection. For instance, in “Chinese Women and Hong Kong Christianity: An Oral History Archive” which has audio and video clippings, images, and other formats of materials, they are all put together as a collection so that users can easily trace through all materials relating to the oral history of the interviewee like the following.  Another example is “United College General Education Senior Seminar Papers Database”.  Again, all materials relating to the paper are grouped together as a collection.

In a recently launched video digital collection, namely, “A Grain of Sand: Poems from Hong Kong”, we experimented a few feature available in our Repository system (Islandora) to let users have a new experience in listening to English poems.
This video digital collection is a collaboration project between the Library and the Department of English. It consists of 33 video recordings of 4 poets that have connections with The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in different capacities: Louise Ho , Andrew Parkin, Eddie Tay and Kit Fan. They recited their own poems about Hong Kong, and CUHK in particular, in a spectacular background of some landmarks in Hong Kong and CUHK campus.

In order to let users visualize the poems not only in beautiful pictures but also in words, we used a new Islandora module called Oral Histories Solution Pack to display the subtitles of the poem in the video and in the time-coded transcript viewer underneath the video. This solution pack is developed by University of Toronto Scarborough Library, and the program codes are shared freely in Github with the Islandora community so that Islandorians including CUHK Library are able to share and contribute what we have enhanced back to the community.  This is the main benefit of using an open source software.  For more details of the Oral Histories Solution Pack, please refer to:  

To prepare for display of subtitles, the team has evaluated different subtitles editing tools including those available in the GitHub site mentioned above.  Finally, an open source editor for video subtitles called Subtitle Edit ( was adopted as it is relatively easy to use and suitable for our project size and requirement.
The digital texts are provided by the English Department.  We made use of the Subtitle Edit to provide time code for all 33 video clips.  The following is screenshot of the application. 

The next step is to use the application to export the subtitles into WebVTT XML files that are suitable for the Solution Pack’s requirement.  Subtitle Edit is able to export the timecoded subtitles into various formats.
It also offers functions like “Templating Export” as in Open Refine ( that we also make use of when preparing MODS file.

With these handy tools and the effort of the whole team, we are able to deliver the project within just a few weeks. We are now proud to present this new collection to the world so that users can appreciate the value of English poems. 
We value any collaboration with Faculty.  Our services can be found here. Please let us know if there are any opportunity to create some interesting digital collections within our CUHK community.