Sharing their stories: Making oral histories accessible to a wider audience
Curious about oral history projects? Want to learn about the process and perhaps use primary sources in your teaching, or even conduct your own oral history project?
This presentation will report on an oral history project at a small maritime university. The project began as a class project collaboration between history faculty, students and the library. Eventually the library and archives continued to maintain the project outside the classroom setting, increasing the gender diversity of interview subjects and expanding access to the recordings. The collection currently includes personal commentaries from a variety of alumni, as well as former academy presidents and long-time faculty. Recent additions include members of the first female graduating class of 1976.
Until recently, access to the existing oral history recordings had been like searching for buried treasure—they lacked appropriate metadata to make them discoverable, and if a researcher was lucky enough to stumble upon one, they were often unedited, untranscribed video file downloads. Beginning in Spring 2020, the library and archives began a process to turn the oral history recordings into a digital collection, to make the videos available for students, faculty, staff, alumni and interested community members. Once the videos are on an accessible platform with captions and transcripts, they can be used as primary sources in a variety of courses.
Center outsider voices. Collaborate with faculty and students. Incorporate primary sources into your research and instruction practice. Come to this session!