Wk 7: Prepping for Oral History Projects

This week I spoke with community partners about the digital mapping project of Lansing about collecting local interviews. All of us were excited with the possibilities and how “doing all the things” aligned with keeping people’s options open regarding their preferred way of recording/contributing. Sitting down to read this week’s articles on audio, digital video, and oral history archiving was a sobering – and much needed – reality check after all the excitement. I didn’t realize how much of our pre-interviewing tests were appreciated based on arbitrary things such as that we were happy we could hear the sounds of the bar alongside the interviewee; we were talking about lost bars, so what could be more perfect?  Yet, the list of audio equipment, both consumer and professional, brought to light much needed considerations regarding balance, distraction, etc.

The OHDA was particularly helpful in providing short how-to’s for doing oral history. The biggest takeaway was the section on considering having archival partners if you don’t have experience archiving interviews. With my local project, I wonder what sort of archival partners might be available, and if this isn’t a feasible option, how we might go about mimicking others workflows and protocols so that participants are kept safe and interviews are preserved.

Long story short, I’m glad I took a deeper look into the OHDA and associated articles, as I realize there is A LOT of prep work to do before the actual interviewing begins.

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