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Research Spreadsheet for Audio Books

As narrators, often we are tasked with researching the books we narrate.  Usually this isn't too onerous, involving looking up a few arcane technical terms or historical figures last names.  If we're unlucky it involves ancient Sanskrit and proto-indo-European gods, along with a smattering of Tibetan Buddhist meditation terms.  Or my favorite pet-peeve - when you finally find that YouTube interview featuring the scientist with the weird last name, only to realize they've cut off the introduction.  They have his name on the bottom of the screen, refer to him by his first name, but never pronounce Dr. Tsiobhannuchiam.  Maybe they're as stumped as I am!

Anywho, a recent book I narrated had quite a bit of challenging research involved, and I quickly tired of cutting and pasting 600 terms into various online resources: Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster.com, YouTube, etc...so I whipped up this little spreadsheet that will auto-create some links for you.

As you'll see, there are hidden columns between A and G that contain the first portion of the link, which is then concatenated with the term or word in column G.  More hidden columns turn that into a hyperlink and assign friendly linktext as it's easier on the eyes.  The result is an easily clickable link that will take you directly to the appropriate webpage.  The formulas are pre-filled for the first 1000 lines, so just writing your term in, or cutting and pasting a list should give you your links.

Once there, you can write your phonetic pronunciation, or cut and paste if you so desire.  I started with the 5 options I use most:

  • Merriam Webster
  • Dictionary.com
  • ForVO
  • Google Pronounce (googling the phrase "pronounce + your word)
  • YouTube

You can add your own favorite website search or service - just add appropriate columns and the search string (do a search at that site and copy the URL into notepad or your spreadsheet, then just remove your sample search term.  Experiment!).

Some other search strings I find useful but didn't include are:



...amongst many, many others.

You can download the template below, let me know if it's useful for you!

Research Template with Links

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Reader Comments (1)

Nice tool, Adam! Just the thing to organize a strong but, um, eclectic researcher like me. (My research notes too often end up on the virtual equivalent of matchbook covers and the backs of receipts.) I'm betting it will prove most useful!

July 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudith West

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