Author Assistant

Version 1.0

Introduction

Author Assistant is a Windows desktop application for professionals authoring dictation files. Author Assistant integrates with popular digital recorders to provide seamless importation of digital audio files from the recorder and then archival and distribution. Dictation audio files can also be imported from other sources and recorded directly using Author Assistant.

Author Assistant is ideal for professionals in health services, law enforcement, legal services, and the insurance industry.

This application must be licensed for full functionality.

Features

  • Audio File Importing including Drag & Drop support.
  • New dictation recording using standard built-in or USB microphones or Philips SpeechMike.
  • Stand-alone or system-based authentication.
  • Background Distribution Options:
    • Move to local or network folder.
    • Copy to local or network option.
    • Dropbox
    • Email
    • Amazon S3 Cloud Storage
    • Secure HTTPS transfer to LAN, WAN or Cloud server.
    • ZIP with encryption
  • Recognizing the connection and the downloading of dictation files from a Philips DPM Digital Recorder.
  • Unlimited number of metadata fields.
  • Barcode scanning support.
  • Creation of 2RC-, Dataworxs- or Philips-formatted descriptor file.
  • Local archival.
  • Hands-free recording w/ footpedal support.

Requirements

  • Windows 7/8/10; Windows Server 2008/2012/2016
  • .NET Framework 4.0
  • 50 MB Free Disk Space
  • Port 8080 open for Outbound Traffic (Licensing)
  • Port 8070 open for Outbound Traffic (System Authentication)

Quick Start

  1. Download and run the latest installer.
  2. For full functionality, make sure you have a obtained a license key from 2RC Software or your dealer.
  3. Run the Author Assistant application:
    Start > All Programs > 2RC Software > Author Assistant
  4. Enter the license key when prompted.

License

Author Assistant requires a license for full functionality. When run without a license key, Author Assistant will allow one time log entry to be created and allow the time log view to be accessed once. The application will then inform you that a license is required for full functionality until it is restarted. Allowing unlicensed operation with limited features allows the application to be installed and configured for trial and testing purposes.

A license key is a string of characters that defines features and expiration dates supported by the application and service. It will look similar to a6da53b7-d063-4677-8759-34ddbc10fdf3. Your license key purchased from 2RC Software or your dealer is added when prompted by the application on startup or by using Settings Manager.

When Author Assistant is started it attempts to contact the License Server to validate that the key provided is valid, is meant for this application, and is not already issued to someone else. The License Server will give Author Assistant a token to let Author Assistant know that it can enable licensed functionality. Author Assistant will save the token and then ask for an updated token every 15 minutes. If a connection to the License Server is not possible, either at startup or while Author Assistant is running, Author Assistant will check to see if the token it had previously received is still valid (i.e. not expired). Until the token expires, Author Assistant will continue to run in a licensed mode even if it can't connect to the License Server. However, the token will expire after a configurable amount of time (called the Reserve Time) and therefore Author Assistant will need to connect to the License Server to renew the token within that time period for full licensed functionality to continue.

Choose Help > About (or press F2) to display the current license status.

The following chart outlines the functionality that is enabled via licensing.

FeatureDescription
Unlicensed Default
Philips DPMWhen unlicensed, detection and importing audio from a supported Philips DPM device is not supported.
n/a
Philips SpeechMikeWhen unlicensed, there is no support for Philips SpeechMike.
n/a
RecordingRecording a new dictation is not supported when unlicensed.
n/a
DistributionDistribution options are not available when running unlicensed.
n/a
File ImportFiles may be imported when unlicensed. However, the metadata entry dialog, including barcode scanning support, is not enabled unless licensed.
Metadata Entry: Not Enabled

How to Use

The Author Assistant application allows you to import audio files and record new audio files. Metadata can be associated with each audio file in the form of a Job Descriptor. Once imported or recorded, audio files are distributed to one or more locations using the supported distribution methods.

Command Line

The following command line arguments are supported when starting Author Assistant:

Logging In

Author Assistant requires that you login. This allows Author Assistant to track who has control over a specific audio file and to give proper credit when work on a file is finished/completed.

In stand-alone mode (SystemEnabled = false), the login requires a name. No authentication is done and therefore it is important to correctly identify yourself.

Author Assistant - Stand-Alone Login

If System mode is enabled the login requires a facility, username, and password. The values entered are authenticated against the 2RC System database. The application will not continue past the login screen until the correct credentials are entered.

Author Assistant - System Login

Custom Login Logo

To change the logo displayed in the login screen, create an image file named Login-Logo.png and place in the same folder as the application (2rcAuthorAssistant.exe). The optimal dimensions are 137 pixels wide and 44 pixels high.

Menu Items

File > Import
Browse for an audio file, associated metadata with it, and then move it to the Distribution Folder.

File > Exit
Exit the program.


Options > Settings Manager
Run the Settings Manager application for low level control over the application settings.

Options > Dropbox Login
Login to your Dropbox account. This is required at least once if using the Dropbox Distribution method.

Options > Hide
Minimize the application the the Windows System Tray. The application will appear as a 2RC icon. Double click the icon to restore the application to its normal window state.

Options > Manage Distribution
Run Distribution Manager to manage the type of distributions, the order of distributions and the details required by each distribution.

Options > Pause Distribution
Temporarily pause the distribution of audio files by selecting this menu option. The option will change to "Unpause Distributions". Continue distributions by choosing "Unpause Distributions".

Options > Recording Devices
Displays a list of Windows recording devices. The device ID displayed here is what is entered into the DictateRecordingDevice setting.


Help > View Event Log
Run Event Manager to view event log entries associated with this application. The setting EventMgr setting.

Help > Restart Author Assistant
Choose this option to shutdown the application. It will restart automatically. You would choose this option after making settings changes to ensure that the changes made take affect.

Help > About (F2)
View the application's version, license key, and license status.

Import Tab

Import Tab

Audio and supported video files are imported by either dragging and dropping the file(s) onto the import drop area in the Import tab identified by "Drop file here to import.", or, browsing for a file by choosing from the menu:

When a new file is being imported and metadata is required, a metadata entry dialog is displayed. Enter values by typing, selecting from a dropdown list (if defined), or scanning. If the dictation is a priority, check the priority checkbox. Press OK to continue.

When a file is imported it is copied to the folder defined by the setting DistributionFolder and its name changed using the format specified by the setting DistributionFilename. If the setting CreateDescriptorFile is set to True, a descriptor file of the type specified by DescriptorFileType is created for each file being imported.

Dictate Tab

Dictate Tab

When a new dictation is started and metadata is required, a metadata entry dialog is displayed. Enter values by typing, selecting from a dropdown list (if defined), or scanning. If the dictation is a priority, check the priority checkbox. Press OK to continue. Press the Cancel icon (X in upper-right corner) to abort the creation of a new dictation.

Metadata Entry

If scanning is enabled, a "Scan Now" form appears whenever the metadata dialog is displayed. This form waits for required number of scanned digits. When the required number of scan digits are received from one or more scans, it automatically closes and populates the metadata fields in the entry dialog as per the settings in the XML file defined by ScanMappingsPathname.

Scanning

To initiate barcode scanning at any time, click the barcode icon.

Distribution

Files that are imported or recorded are moved to the DistributionFolder. When the file is recognized and more than DistributionAgeSecs seconds old, it is processed by the Distribution agent that runs in the background. The audio file and its companion metadata/job descriptor file are processed as per rules setup in the DistributionDefinitionsPathname. The Distributions XML file is managed using the 2RC Distribution Manager desktop application or it can be manually edited using a text editor.

The following distributions are available:

  • Move to local or network folder.
  • Copy to local or network option.
  • Dropbox
  • Email
  • Amazon S3 Cloud Storage
  • HTTPS transfer to LAN, WAN or Cloud server.
  • Speech Recognition (w/ Email and Write options)
  • Delete (assumed if one or more of the above distribution methods is defined)(

Distribution Definitions are managed by the DistributionMgr. Run Distribution Manager from the menu:
Options > Manage Distribution

Distribution Manager

Settings

All settings are managed by running Settings Manager. To run Settings Manager choose the menu option:
Options > Settings Manager

Settings

In Settings Manager, the following settings are supported:

Setting Name
Type
Description
Default
HideOnStartup
Boolean (True | False)
Causes the application to minimize to the Windows system tray as soon as the application is started. The window is restored by double clicking the 2RC logo in the system tray.
False
LicenseKey
String
A string of characters that defines features and expiration dates supported by the application and service. It will look similar to a6da53b7-d063-4667-8759-34ddbc10fdf3. A license key is intended to be used on one workstation only.
LicenseServer
URL
A URL that specifies the location of the license server. The License Key is passed to the license server for validation and then exchanged for a License Token. Except in special cases, the value must remain as the default.
http://2rcsoftware.com:8080/v1/license
LicenseToken
String (Read-Only)
A token is received from the License Server and allows the application to do what it does. A token will expire after a certain time and therefore the application periodically contacts the license server to renew the token. The value in this field should not be changed.
SystemEnabled
Boolean
When enabled Author Assistant requires a user logging in to be authenticated by the 2RC System server identified by SystemServer.
False
SystemServer
URL
A URL that specifies the location of the 2RC system server. If SystemEnabled is set to True, the system server is accessed by Author Assistant to authenticate the user logging in. The user record also provides additional settings such as Rewind seconds and Fast Forward seconds.
http://localhost:8070
PhilipsDpmEnabled
Boolean
This setting must be enabled for Author Assistant to recognize when a supported Philips DPM digital recorder is plugged is connected to the computer. When a device is detected, files on the device are imported to the DistributionFolder and then removed from the device.
False
PhilipsDpmTestMode
Boolean
When enabled, a message is displayed each time a supported device is connected and disconnected. When a device is connected it alsoe display a message for each audio file on the device. The files are NOT imported or removed from the device. Use this feature to test the device and connection with the computer.
False
PhilipsDpmUpdateTime
Boolean
When enabled, the date and time on the device is automatically sychronized with the computer's time whenever the device is connected.
True
PhilipsSpeechMikeEnabled
Boolean
Enable this feature to use a Philips SpeechMike to conveniently record new dictions. The following buttons on a SpeechMike are recognized:

  • Record: Start recording.
  • Play: Start playback from the current position.
  • Rewind: Rewind from the current position.
  • Ffwd: Fast forward from the current position.
  • Instr (double tapped): Finish/save the dictation.
  • EOL (double tapped): Toggle priority from normal to high or high to normal.

When using a Philips SpeechMike, you should also set the setting DictateAutoStartRecord to False.
False
PhilipsSpeechMikeTestMode
Boolean
When enabled, a message is displayed each time a SpeechMike button or switch is activated. The action related to that button or switch is NOT triggered. Use this setting to test connectivity with the SpeechMike.
False
SettingsMgr
Pathname
Pathname to 2rcSettingsMgr.exe. Executed when the menu item "Options > Settings Mgr" in the application.
<programfilesx86>\2RC Software\Settings Mgr\2rcSettingsMgr.exe
ArchiveFolder
Folder
The folder where files are archived prior to being distributed. Archived files are purged when they are more than 15 days old each time the application starts.
<userroamingdata>\2RC Software\Author Assistant\Archive
ArchiveEncryptionMode
string
Specifies what type of encryption will be applied to files written to the archive folder.
None
ArchiveEncryptionPassword
string
The password to use when encryption is applied to files written to the archive folder.
DistributionFolder
Folder
The folder where imported and recorded audio files are moved to. Files in this folder are processed by the background Distribution Agent.
<userroamingdata>\2RC Software\Author Assistant\Distribution
DistributionFilename
Filename
When files are moved to the Distribution Folder (either by being imported or by being recorded) they are renamed using the file naming mask defined in this setting. If this field is blank the audio files are not renamed. Renaming using a mask has the advantage of ensuring that all files have a unique name regardless of the source.
<yyyymmdd>_<HHmmss>_<applogin>_<fn><fe>
DistributionAgeSecs
Integer
Files that are in the DistributionFolder are not processed until the file is at least DistributionAgeSecs seconds old. This setting ensures that larger files arriving from various sources aren't prematurely processed.
10
DistributionMgr
Pathname
The full pathname of the Distributin Manager utility application.
<programfilesx86>\2RC Software\Distribution Mgr\2rcDistributionMgr.exe
DistributionDefinitionsPathname
Pathname
This setting points to an XML file that contains Distribution definitions that are used by the background Distribution Agent. The contents of the XML file are managed by Distribution Manager.
<userroamingdata>\2RC Software\Author Assistant\DistributionDefinitions.xml
TempFolder
Folder
The folder used to create temporary files required by the application for various tasks.
C:\Users\{loginname}\Local\Temp
EventMgr
Pathname
View events associated with the application.
<programfilesx86>\2RC Software\Event Mgr\2rcEventMgr.exe
CreateDescriptorFile
Boolean (True | False)
.
True
DescriptorFileType
string
The type of descriptor (metadata) file to create and associate with a new recording or a audio file being imported. Supported types (case-insensitive) are:

  • _2RC or 2RC
  • Philips or PHI
  • DWX or Dataworxs

2RC
DictatePromptForMetadata
Boolean (True | False)
When True, the user is prompted to enter metadata information associated with the new dictation every time a new dictation is started.
True
DictateTruncateWarningThresholdSecs
Integer
When dictating in Truncate mode, you will be warned if you are about to truncate more than this number of seconds of audio.
5
DictateRecordingDevice
Integer
The Windows recording device (microphone) ID to use when recording a dictation. View recording devices available by choosing the menu item "Options > Recording Devices...". Recording will not start if an invalid recording device ID is provided.
0
MetadataCount
Integer
The number of metadata fields to prompt for. Metadata items are extended using the metadata XML file defined by MetadataPathname. For each metadata field, also set MetadataName#, MetadataValue#, MetadataRequire#, MetadataMask#, MetadataMappedFieldName#.
0
MetadataName#
String
The name of the metadata field, where # is 1 to "MetadataCount". For example, a metadata name may be W/T, MRN, Case Number, Badge Number, etc.
MetadataValue#
String
The default value of the metadata field, where # is 1 to "MetadataCount".
MetadataRequire#
Boolean (True | False)
Specifies whether or not a value is required in this metadata field. If this setting is True, a blank/empty value will not be accepted. Where # is 1 to "MetadataCount".
False
MetadataMask#
String
Metadata field mask, where # is 1 to "MetadataCount". This setting is not used by Author Assistant and is reserved for future use.
MetadataMappedFieldName#
String
Mapping the metadata item to a third party demographic field, where # is 1 to "MetadataCount". The value of this field tells the application which third party field to map the metadata value to. For example, if MetadataName0 is "W/T" and the setting DescriptorFileType is "PHI" you may want to map the W/T value to the Philips worktype field. Therefore the value of this setting would be "worktype". Case is not important, the value of the setting is converted to all lowercase before being used.

Supported mappings for Philips:
  • custom#, where #=1..5
  • workstation
  • worktype
  • department
  • listcolumn#content, where #=1..10
Supported mappings for Dataworxs:
  • if# (or inputfield#), where #=0..9

MetadataPathname
Pathname
An XML formatted file that provides extended information about the metadata that will be used by Author Assistant and prompted for. Each metadata field describes the name, what values are allowed, and a list of default values that can be selected. For example:

<_2RC_Software>
  <Metadata>
    <Metadata Name = "W/T">
      <Allowed>22|34-66|345|!36</Allowed>
      <Values>
        <Value Label="Letter">22</Value>
        <Value Label="Citation" Default = "True">345</Value>
        <Value Label="Personal">66</Value>
      </Values>
    </Metadata>
  </Metadata>
</_2RC_Software>

Each Name (eg. "W/T") must match a corresponding MetadataName# setting. Single allowed values (eg. "22") or ranges of allowed values (eg. "34-66") are separated by the pipe character (|). An exclamation mark is used to specify "not". For example in the above example, <Allowed>22|34-66|345|!36</Allowed>, the values 22 and 34-66 (inclusive) are allowed but NOT 36. Using ranges of values (eg. 34-66) in an Allowed string are only valid for numeric fields.

<userroamingdata>\2RC Software\Author Assistant\Metadata.xml
FootpedalEnabled
Boolean (True | False)
When enabled, and the corresponding footpedal type identified by "Footpedal Name" is connected, Author Assistant will respond to footpedal presses while recording a new dictation.
False
FootpedalName
String
The type of footpedal. Supported values for this setting are VEC, PHILIPS_LFH, OLY_RS31, OLY_RS27, OLY_DR1000.

For full hands-free recording support including the ability to switch between recording mode and playback mode, the 4-pedal Olympus RS-31 is required. Other supported footpedals can be used for hands-free starting and stopping of recording.
VEC
FootpedalRewUntilPauseEnabled
Boolean (True | False)
When enabled pressing the rewind pedal will cause rewinding to continue until the pedal is released. When not enabled, the playback position will change by the default rewind amount each time the pedal is pressed.
True
FootpedalRewUntilPauseIntervalMs
Integer
The amount of time between each move of the playback position while the rewind pedal remains pressed. A larger number slows the rewinding, and the smaller the number the faster the rewinding.
250
StartupTab
Integer
Determines which functional tab will be displayed when the application is first started. Tab 0 (zero) is the Import tab and tab 1 is the Dictate tab.
0
ScanMappingsPathname
Pathname
If barcode scanning will be used to enter metadata, this file describes how the scanned digits will be distributed to the metadata fields described in the MetadataName# and "MetadataPathname" settings. For example:

<_2RC_Software>
  <Scan Version="1.0.0" Enabled="True" Length="14">
    <Mapping>
      <Map MetadataName="W/T" Start="0" Length="2" Prefix="" Suffix="" />
      <Map MetadataName="MRN" Start="5" Length="6" Prefix="000" Suffix="x1" />
    </Mapping>
  </Scan>
</_2RC_Software>

In each mapping, the MetadataName must match one of the MetadataName# settings.

<userroamingdata>\2RC Software\Author Assistant\BarCodeScan.xml
DictateAutoStartRecord
Boolean (True | False)
When enabled, after initializing a new dictation (entered metadata, etc.) Author Assistant will start recording immediately, otherwise it will wait for record to be pressed before actually starting to record. This setting should be set to False when Author Assistant is used with a Philips SpeeckMike.
True
RewindSecs
Integer
How many seconds audio playback will be rewound each time a rewind is issued. This value will be overridden by the System"s user record if SystemEnabled is set to true.
4
ForwardSecs
Integer
How many seconds audio playback will be moved forward each time a fast-forward is issued. This value will be overridden by the System"s user record if SystemEnabled is set to true.
10
SaveStage
Integer
This is the transcription stage that a newly dictated or imported audio file will be set to. Files available for transcription may be one of several stages, where a stage identifies a step in the workflow required to transcribe a job: transcription, correction, editing, QA, etc.
0

Metadata

Metadata is information related to a specific dictation audio file that is either imported or newly recorded. Some metadata is automatically associated with a dictation file: author ID, length, are a couple of examples. In addition, Author Assistant supports an unlimited number of custom metadata fields that you can define. The metadata fields you may want are generally industry specific.


Basic Setup of Metadata

To configure Author Assistant to prompt for one or more metadata values, start by configuring the setting MetadataCount to the number of metadata fields to prompt for. Next, assign each metadata field a name by setting MetadataName# (where #=1 to MetaDataCount) to a name (MRN or Loss Nbr, for example). If the DescriptorFileType is not _2RC or 2RC, then the setting MetadataMappedFieldName# is also required.

See information on the setting MetadataPathname in the Settings section for more information about setting more advanced metadata settings such as allowed values and defining a list of values for the author to choose from.

Metadata Entry

Advanced Setup of Metadata

Metadata can further be defined to describe what values are allowed and provide a list of default values for the author to select from.

Advanced metadata setup is provided in a XML formatted file. The pathname of the file is given to Author Assistant using the setting MetadataPathname. For each metadata field, the metadata XML file describes the name, what values are allowed, and a list of default values that can be selected.

In this example, a metadata field named "W/T" has extended setup information. It specifies that the W/T must be a value between 34 and 37 (inclusive) but cannot be 36. Values 34, 35, and 37 are further extended by giving them a user-friendly "label".

<_2RC_Software>
  <Metadata>
    <Metadata Name = "W/T">
      <Allowed>34-37|!36</Allowed>
      <Values>
        <Value Label="Letter">34</Value>
        <Value Label="Citation" Default = "True">35</Value>
        <Value Label="Personal">37</Value>
      </Values>
    </Metadata>
  </Metadata>
</_2RC_Software>




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