With a legacy of over 110 years, Biola University ranks as one of the USA’s foremost Christian universities. It also recently ranked among the top up and coming national universities by US News & World Report.  Founded in 1908, just 20 miles south of Los Angeles in La Mirada, CA, it offers more that 150 academic programmes and enrols more than 6,000 students throughout its main campus, online, and in distance programs throughout the world.


One of Biola Universities unique offerings is the Biola Hour, a radio ministry that has been transmitting biblical teachings to listeners since the 1920s. Each of these broadcast recordings are stored in the Universities’ Archives and Special Collections. They are considered the highlight of the Digital Commons historical collection.

In an attempt to make the content of their 1500 broadcast recordings available for people with hearing impairments and to be searchable in the repository using full-text search, Biola University started manually transcribing each recording.

The manual process was slow and difficult. Biola University’s 2 full-time and 5 part-time staff would upload a recording to a dedicated website where you had to listen and then type out each word.  This involved manually playing, pausing, typing and rewinding long hours of audio. Staff described the slow process as ‘tedious and torturous’, quickly leading to burn-out.


Biola University decided they needed to find an alternative way to transcribe their radio recordings. They spent 15 months looking for a viable solution that was affordable, easy-to-use and offered a high accuracy rate.

After weighing up the pros and cons of several transcription services they found on a Wikipedia list, Biola University chose to work with Happy Scribe.  Biola University was enticed by Happy Scribes’ ability to offer automated transcription of audio-to-text in minutes.  

With Happy Scribe, all Biola had to do with their radio broadcast was upload the file and wait a few minutes for an email saying the transcription was ready for review.  Happy Scribe also provided an interactive editor to allow minor edits of the transcription before easy exportation into Word.

“ Staff are happy with how easy the site is to use and the quality of the transcriptions. ”


Biola University was particularly pleased that Happy Scribe offered a free trial, which gave Biola University an opportunity to test the software application and to see if it would solve their requirements before having to go through major efforts with their purchasing and IT departments.

They found Happy Scribe was quick, efficient and simple to use. As for the staff who had previously spent painstaking hours manually transcribing the radio broadcasts, Biola University said that they were thrilled with Happy Scribe.

“ 80% reduction in costs compared with their previous transcription solution. ”


By using Happy Scribe, Biola University is now reporting a 80% reduction in costs compared with their previous transcription solution.

Additionally, the Library and Archives Collection staff have been so happy with the service and staff interaction with Happy Scribe that Biola University recommended Happy Scribe to other departments on campus. They have also recommended it to other colleagues in the their field.

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