Collaboration to Improve Book Production

The Hindenburg Audio Book Creator (HABC) was developed in 2009 as the Hindenburg Journalist, a workstation that enabled radio journalists to produce, record, and edit audio content without the help of an engineer. Danish company Hindenburg Systems (HS) worked with members of the DAISY Consortium to develop the HABC to support the production of audio files that comply with digital talking book specifications.

The program was further modified under a National Library Service (NLS) contract to produce NLS-formatted Digital Talking Books.

HS CEO Chris Mottes and creative director Nick Dunkerley visited NLS headquarters in Washington, D.C. They saw firsthand NLS workflow for recording, reviewing, and authoring.

Mottes, Dunkerley, and HS chief technology officer Preben Friis worked closely with NLS audiobook production specialist Phillip Carbo, Recording Studio head Celeste Lawson, and senior NLS staff to refine the HABC to fit NLS needs.

The HABC performs all stages of creating an audiobook—a task that NLS previously needed three different programs to complete. “It’s built to our specifications and is not just an off-the-shelf program,” Lawson said.

Studio monitors can drop markers in as the book is being recorded, or the reviewer can do it afterward; they do not have to do it in the order the book is read.

In addition to recording and creating books for the NLS collection, the studio is using the software to produce DTBs of analog-to-digital titles and commercial audiobooks. In the future, the HABC may be used to include e-books in the production process, convert foreign-produced digital talking books to NLS standards, and produce instructional titles for the NLS Music Section. The NLS Engineering Section is working on making the HABC accessible for blind users.