Educational Materials

Let’s add educational materials here!  Please email me () attachments of your syllabi or workshop outlines.  You can also post good workshop exercises in the comments section of this post.

Queens College undergraduate oral history course This course was co-taught by an English professor and an Archives Professor with help from me (Natalie) to get students ready to create interviews for donation to the Queens Memory Project.

Queens College undergraduate Sociology research methods course This is an outline for a six-session oral history curriculum module training students to conduct interviews about food and healing traditions that will become part of the Queens Memory Project.

How can I upload a podcast file to my webpage?

Uploading a podcast (sound) file to a webpage.

I would like to add pieces of student interviews to a webpage.  Many use their iphones, and I am thinking that I could easily put up interviews for class purposes.

I am a novice, so here I have just done the basics of creating a podcast and uploading it to my webpage.

Posted in Session Proposals | Comments Off on How can I upload a podcast file to my webpage?

Project Organization

As a beginning practitioner of oral history, I’d like to take advantage of THATcamp to assemble some do’s and don’ts of organizing oral history projects in support of public history pedagogy generally and the Curatescape application specifically.   Many of the workshops suggested sound profitable in answering questions about collaboration, creative re-use, etc.  Although we’ve only worked on a few oral history projects at Allegheny, we’re already running into problems with compatible formats, archiving and access.   Rather than just jumping in on my project with some solution that will work for the moment, I’d like to come up with some ways that lay solid foundations and make it possible for the oral histories to be useful resources beyond my immediate project.  I’m especially interested in setting up a system that utilizes undergraduate interns on an on-going basis in a summer program for which we’re getting funding.  Perhaps a panel might consist of you experts answering such questions as:  if I were starting over again I would be sure to do ____.  Or, more helpfully, boy would I never again do ____.    Some of my questions will be answered by my sitting in on other sessions, or we could take some time out to create a list of suggestions of best practices that consolidate what we’ve learned.

What is Omeka and how can I use it?

According to the Omeka web site:

Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions. Its “five-minute setup” makes launching an online exhibition as easy as launching a blog.

So, does that mean I can use it for my projects?

I plan to do an overview of Omeka, what you need to install it, how you can use it, how you can create web sites.

Omeka is widely used in the digital humanities. Come and see if it can work for you.

Marketing, Archiving, and Using Digital Multimeida Oral History Projects

I’ve become very curious and excited recently about how corporations, nonprofits, and others are using social media, in particular different social media sites, for marketing a specific part of a product or project. I’m curious if anyone is interested in examining how from its inception an oral history project can use various social media websites to do pre-marketing, real time marketing, and post marketing to keep up interest in a project. So for example, creating a Facebook page that syncs with a Twitter feed to give instant updates about the design and plan for an oral history project, while Soundcloud, Timblr, and Pinterest could each have different parts of a digital oral history project linked to each other. So for example a wav or mp3 file could be put on soundcloud, a blog with photographs could be on Tumblr, while unique pinboards could be created on Pinterest.

Do this sound interesting to anybody?

Digital Project-Driven Oral History as a Teaching Tool

I would like to form a session of those interested in discussing experiences with building an oral history collection whose primary function is to support a specific digital project. In my own experience working with colleagues, students, and community groups through CSU’s Center for Public History + Digital Humanities, we set up many of the nearly 800 oral histories that we have conducted with the explicit purpose of creating sound clips to use on the mobile history app we have been developing (as well as for a prior project). In doing so, we have, nonetheless, striven to adhere to best practices in oral history, ranging from archiving interviews to creating a space for our interviewees to tell their own stories whether they fit our ends or not. In at least one sense, our project-driven methodology, which places a premium on high-quality, uninterrupted personal narratives, may actually have enabled us to do a better job of being mindful of fostering such an environment.

Loosely related to the issues above, I am interesting in sharing experiences with others who have trained students or community members to conduct oral histories. In this, perhaps unsurprisingly, my experience has been mixed. A host of factors account for the challenges of transferring oral history skills to those who have never conducted an interview. Given the time constraints of the typical university semester, logistics of identifying interview subjects, scheduling, using recording equipment, finding suitable space, etc., have you developed any tried-and-true methods for producing robust results? I am also happy to share how I am guiding students to create digital projects (and why for the time being I have stopped having my students conduct oral histories). A selfish hope I’ll share is that I hope to be inspired to return project-driven oral history collecting to the center of some of my teaching in the not-too-distant future.

digitizing oral and video interviews

I’m a volunteer at the Oberlin Heritage Center in Oberlin.  I’ve been collecting video interviews for over 20 years and would like to discover ways to save these in our collections in usable formats.  We also have an extensive collection of analog audio tapes that we want to transfer to digital format efficiently.  We do have a number of volunteers and an active oral history committee.

I would be comfortable talking about my experience interviewing individuals on video and video editing but would like to exchange info about the process of digital archiving and switching to new digital recording format.

Participatory Digital Archives

I’m thinking most right now about ways to invite and encourage the creation of oral histories and other documentary records for the archives by a huge variety of participants while maintaining rigorous professional and scholarly standards in my institution’s practices.  In other words:

How do we strike a balance between making participation appealing and simple while maintaining quality control over the records we’re collecting?

I would really enjoy learning more about the ways other THATCampers have mobilized participants new to oral history and digital archives to produce wonderful contributions.

Flashy Reconstitutioning

After the first year of developing and starting an oral history project, I felt immediately pressured for more, more MORE! While I was done and happy for the year; the initial interviews and photos were now stored, they would one day be archived, and the project would continue the following year, the students and seniors and those in my university community seemed surprised that, that was it. So, I started using the photographs and audio from the interviews in order to create an annual video recap. (The second year, I got a lot fancier.) This has managed to drum up support from all angles, and they are very fun to show, but it is not the direction I originally saw for the project. I would love to explore how others have reconstituted their oral histories, why we’ve done it, how we’ve done it and the pros and cons of doing so.

Parts & Wholes

I am fascinated with the problems associated with visualizing oral history, which I blogged about, and which is part of my contribution to the Oral History in the Digital Age project.

As I have mulled this problem, I have increasingly realized that the digital revolution presents a problem for oral historians that problematizes the oral history as the unit of analysis. Increasingly, we parse, divide, tag, and work with oral histories as a small collection of discreet pieces or clips. This surely is an appropriate way to work with oral history, but has just as surely altered how we think about oral history as a unit of analysis. This transformation has generated a host of new tools, such as Ohms at the University of Kentucky. It has also become the way that public historians are using oral history, as in Cleveland Historical.

I would like to consider examples of projects in both the archiving and exhibition of oral history and engage in a discussion of what this implies about professional practice in the digital age.

How to use digital video with Omeka

I believe that playing back digital video on the web presents a special set issues for scholars, content managers and technologists that are not often addressed in commercial products and on websites, such as YouTube, that focus primarily on entertainment not education, research or public exhibits. Using digital video in these areas requires the ability to segment videos, provide voice or text based annotation and the presentation of the segments in the context of the original video as well as the ability to present video segments and annotation with other related videos. In addition, since much of this work is done in the context of a library, museum or other public facility or project, and often requires some search and discovery of the video segments, the ability to collect and present metadata about each segment is important as well.  In relation to work that I have done on a plugin and themes that allow the loading and playback of videos and video segments into Omeka, I would like to discuss the current state of video segment playback and some of the choices that have to be made when playing back video on the web.