The Basics

Missed that important quote or phone number? Having a clear audio recording can save time and ensure accuracy by providing a verbatim record. We use audio recordings to share that verbatim record with the public and draft contextualized reports, drawing connections between meetings, board members and public speakers.

Assignment Requirements

  • Record in a Single Segment: Record you assigned meeting in one single file or as few clips as possible.
  • Timestamp: Write down key times displayed on your audio device as you record. By the end of your recording, you’ll have a written log that will allow you and our Documenters Manager to quickly find important moments in your audio.


  1. Get Close: Position your recording device receiver within a few inches of your subject’s mouth or a speaker/amplifier for the best audio.
  2. Find a stable surface: When possible, don’t hold your recording device in your hand—look for a stable surface on the same level as your audio subject.
  3. Check your levels: If your recording device features a display be sure to watch the dial. For wave height, taller waves mean louder sound; for wave color, red means your audio is too loud. The ideal display settings will show a moderate wave height with green bars.
  4. Remember: According to the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, “any person may record the proceedings at meetings required to be open [under the Illinois Open Meetings Act] by tape, film or other means,” however, “the authority holding the meeting shall prescribe reasonable rules to govern the right to make such recordings.”


  • Charge your device
  • Silence your device before recording
  • Test audio levels
  • Position your recording device receiver close to your subject
  • Record in a quiet location’
  • Record subjects spelling their full names and contact information
  • Timestamp audio in your notes
  • Save audio files using name/title and date
  • Recommended: use an external, plug-in microphone