Our project case studies are meant to offer behind-the-scenes insights into the Studio’s collaborative project development process, with feedback from the Principal Investigator (PI) regarding the challenges and successes of their digital works. These spotlights provide faculty, students, and staff with an understanding of how an idea becomes a tangible, digital project; and how to implement shared best practices and researcher experience to develop high-quality, innovative outputs.


Project Purpose

Chuy Renteria approached the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio for assistance with an audiobook version of their memoir, We Heard It When We Were Young. The goal of the audiobook format was to provide an accessible, multimedia companion to the physical book. The audiobook site includes the memoir read by the author, images, maps, family mementos, reviews, and resources for educators.

Project Timeline 

  • Book was published by UI Press in November 2021.
  • Released on Audible in September 2022.
  • Project came to Studio in July 2022 to develop a free/open-access resource for classroom audiences.
  • September 2022 launch for Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • IowaNow and Studio promotion efforts in November 2022.

Digital Methods, Technologies, and Studio Supports 

Studio staff provided graphic and web design services to compliment and correspond with the book cover; uploaded audio and multimedia files using Kaltura on a WordPress custom site; and assisted with the promotion of the resource.

Content Management 

Chuy Renteria had completed the majority of their research and creative work prior to approaching the Studio. All materials were ready for digital development and publication. Chuy worked with a professional recording company, Audivita Studios, to record the audio, which took more than 12 hours working closely with an audio engineer.


Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the book was recorded remotely from an upstairs closet of Chuy’s home, often during the nap times of his young daughter.

“The recording process could be intense and grueling. It’s interesting to feel the difference in writing vs. recording the narration… The audio engineer helped with everything  from making sure I enunciated correctly to working with me in finding the right emotions for different passages,” said Renteria. “Fun fact: the hardest word in the whole entire process was inevitably. I needed the most takes to get that one right and vow to never include in future writings, as a result.”


Chuy Renteria’s audiobook project was an exciting collaboration for the Studio. It accomplished many of the same objectives the Studio prioritizes, including accessibility and multimedia formats that go beyond the physical page of a manuscript.

“The main charge of the collaboration was ease of access for readers/listeners. It’s been really exciting to hear from folks that listened to the book through the website. I’ve worked with UI staff and faculty who have created curriculum around the book. I’m proud to say these colleagues represent a variety of disciplines and interests—from art education and academic advising to immigration identity,” Renteria said. “It’s great to be able to point to our open access project and let them know the resource is there.”