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Tuesday Tech Tips – Making Noise August 19, 2014

Posted by Brooke Ahrens in Check this out!.

I recently had the good fortune to move into a new office. My new office space is larger, much easier for our students to find, and I will be sharing the space with a wonderful colleague. The one downside? Our new office is located next to the server room which creates a consistent and audible buzz. So, we began looking for an ambient noise generator to decrease server noise in our new office.

An article posted on last week on Lifehacker.com about ambient noise and productivity caught my attention.  The article mentioned that studies have found the ambient noise of a coffeehouse might actually help increase creativity and productivity. The article highlighted a Chrome App called Elmnts, as well as the web-based ambient noise Noisli.  Both noise generators feature a simple to use interface, that allows you to select and combine several noise types to create a custom ambient noise creation of your choice.

After investigating several other website based noise generators, we also discovered Ambient-Mixer.com which features user created ambient noise recordings in a variety of catagories, including a Harry Potter category that includes the ambient noises of each of Hogwarts common rooms! This site was great fun to explore, and allows you to adjust various elements of each of the created soundscapes.  I can’t wait to share the site with students, I’m sure they’ll enjoy exploring the different sound elements used to create fictional locations, and our PE and Religion teachers will enjoy the variety of creative background soundscapes available for use in their classes.

In my office, we have opted to use Noisli because no browser or account login is needed, so we can run it on a student designated computer we have in the office. We’ve been using a combination of forest, coffee house, and stream sounds to create a soundscape I’ve dubbed “National Park.”  I wasn’t familiar with the research on coffeeshop noise, but I know that I personally work better in an environment featuring a low level of noise, instead of silence, or the buzz of a server room.  I’m curious to know if other librarians have experimented with the use of ambient noise to inspire creativity with their students or as a way to manage noise levels.


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