Possibilities and Limitations of Digital Annotation Tools for Audio-Visual Material with a focus on Sound and Music

Interdisciplinary Workshop

2 to 4 May 2022 at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Organised by Prof. Stefanie Acquavella-Rauch (JGU Mainz), Prof. Dr. Barbara Alge (Goethe University Frankfurt/Main), and Dr. Christoph Günther (JGU Mainz)

Funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung


Key Questions of the Workshop

The workshop focuses on the possibilities and limitations of digital annotation tools for research in the Humanities interpreting sound and music in audio-visual material. Although tools for audio-visual data are a broad field in the Digital Humanities in general, the multi-perspective analysis of audio phenomena has only played a minor role so far. Among the software solutions currently being used in various disciplines, three characteristics can be noted: First, tools were developed to suit rather universal questions without addressing topics pertaining specifically to auditory data. Second, in other cases audio-visual data and means of sound and music analysis were not considered, because textual approaches had been prioritized as the main method of inquiry. Third, digital annotation software is limited in the ways in which it enables certain kinds of transcription, coding or description of meta data.

Based on these observations the key questions of the workshop are: How do researchers approach the analysis of acoustic data? How can digital annotation tools be used to account for the complexity of audio-visual data? Considering the different methodologies, what ways of exploring music and sound are important for future research? What role can new developments in the Computational Sciences play and how can current discussions about (meta)data standards and FAIR data principles be taken into consideration? To discuss these theoretical and methodological questions the workshop will bring together fifteen experienced DH specialists and international researchers from five countries (Germany, France, UK, Australia and USA) and various disciplines of the Humanities spectrum such as Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Music Theory, Art History, Anthropology, Islamic Studies, Linguistics and Information Technology.

Workshop Structure

The interdisciplinary workshop will take place from 2 to 4 May 2022 at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. The participants selected due to their expertise, area of interest, academic record and publications will give an insight into their own approaches and thoughts about the annotation of auditive respectively audio-visual material in 20-minute-long papers on two days. Each paper will be accompanied by a discussion. The papers are structured in three thematic panels:

1. Musicological Questions regarding Digital Annotation Tools for Sound and Music
2. Digital Annotation Technologies of Sound and Music across Disciplines
3. Development and Use of Digital Annotation Tools for Sound and Music.

After each panel a final meta-discussion will help form a further understanding in the respective section. The overall aim for the third day is to bring together the results of the three thematic blocks. A round table will help deepening the dialogues from the presentations and discussions leading into a final discussion that will help concluding the workshop and develop future perspectives. All participants will be invited to contribute their thoughts and ideas to an edited volume in print and open access that will present the workshop results to the public.

Workshop Program

Please find the full program of the workshop here.


Please find a list of the participants here.


The workshop will take place hybrid (in presence and via Zoom).

If you would like to participate, please indicate when registering via email whether you would like to come in person or participate online.

Please note:The current JGU Corona regulations apply for participation in presence!