Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Case for Transcription

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Here you can read a thought provoking article about the need for more transcription in our increasingly media-laden world. Mike Bergelson of Cisco points out the productivity boons made possible through integrated transcription of conferences, lectures and videos.

With the amount of audio and video available on the Internet, in particular, there certainly exists a lode of text waiting to be made available to search engines, to be made more accessible to all and to be made more useful. It will be interesting to see who unlocks this resource and how they do it.

Defamation and Oral History

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

There is an interesting article at the Oxford University Press blog about the intersection of oral history and defamation claims. It points out the need for oral historians of all sorts to not only keep an ear out for statements about criminal conduct from their interviewees, but also statements that could be potentially defamatory. The Internet has increased the availability of audio interviews and transcripts. Stories before have pinpointed the possible dangers of inaccurate transcription, but this story points out that there can still be complications arising from an accurately transcribed interview.

A Guide to Oral History Interviews

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

The Holocaust Museum

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a fantastic guide to doing oral history interviews. Their guidelines clearly focus on interviews dealing the subject of the Holocaust, but there is still so much that can be gleaned from this work.

This guide goes beyond simple interview techniques. It’s hard to illustrate how in-depth it is without simply listing its extensive table of contents. The guide includes two chapters on preliminary interviews and interview arrangements, followed by two more on preparing your questions. The sections on conducting the inteview include advice on “Interjecting vs. Interviewing”, on “Non-Verbal Responses” and “Taking Breaks. Further sections give technical advice, as well as information on how to authenticate a transcript.

For a researcher looking to do professional level oral history work we haven’t seen a better, more detailed guide out there. Please let us know in the comments if you have.

How to Choose a Research Topic

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

A collection of interesting advice for researchers at the Successful Researcher blog.

WPA Oral Histories Archive

Friday, February 12th, 2010

American Life Histories is an amazing collection of life histories compiled by writers for the WPA from 1936-1940.

History photosThese oral history transcripts are an eye-opening thing to read through and also give a great sense of why oral history is such an important thing to collect and preserve. You can search through the transcripts by keyword or by state. There’s so much of interest there, including this excerpt from the stories of E. F. Forsgard of Waco, Texas:

“Four or five or six of these big gamblers would sometimes get together in one of their places and play poker. Sometimes the game would run for as long as a week. If one of them wanted to leave the game for awhile to take a nap or go out in town, he’d count up the money he had, the banker would make a note of it, and the gambler would stack it to one side on the table, and it would be there when he came back, even if he was gone a day or two.

A lot of gambling would go on right on the square. The cowboys, gamblers and Mexicans would come into town and tie their horses to the hitchrack on the square, spread down a blanket, get out their cards and have a game right there among their horses.”

Bizarro Wordsworth

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It seems we’ve come across the company that does the exact opposite of one of our services. While we often take handwritten documents and type them into electronic format, at Upper Hand Marketing it seems they do exactly the opposite.

Handwritten Letter
At their site you can check out their handwritten letters service. They will apparently turn your electronic letter into a handwritten one and send it to your desired recipients. A personal touch for marketing purposes it seems, but an interesting new business niche for the electronic age.

Perhaps next we’ll find a firm that takes transcripts and records them into audio for you. On the Internet anything is possible.

Guide to Interview Techniques

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The Study of History and Memory at Indiana University has a well done guide to oral history techniques which I think well reproduces what I’ve seen out of the best interviewers we’ve transcribed. Their site also has informed consent and deed of gift forms you can use, not to mention their own collection of oral history projects and interviews. This is definitely worth a read.

Read our recommendations

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

You can follow the link to Ken’s LinkedIn page to see some of the recommendations from customers he’s gathered.

Call for Papers for the OHA

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

The Oral History Association has announced a call for papers for their 2010 annual meeting. With a theme of ‘times of crisis; times of change’ it should make for interesting reading.

Oral History News

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

The University of Florida reports on a $150,000 grant to preserve African-American history in Alachua County.

It’s always great to hear about more oral histories being taken. Once a generation dies their memories can’t be brought back. We’ve heard first hand some of the amazing, interesting or profound details you get out of an oral history interview that would never have been noted in a book or newspaper of the times. I hope that other institutions find the funds even in these times to keep oral history going so we don’t end up with any blank spots in our history.