Rest in Peace, CDs R.I.P. CDs Consider the alternatives to compact discs: iPods, satellite radio and hours of free or cheap digital music to download legally. Begone, bright discs and pesky cases! Begone!

Does this mark the beginning of the end of Red Book Audio CD? How will this affect make-it-yourself recordings of your family stories, your oral history?

This article points out that CDs are on their way out. The article lists 10 reasons (new music sources, how good old hissy-tapes of rock n roll sound compared to clean sound, Satellite Radio, online music, etc.) why CDs are on the way out.

I don’t care as much about the “let the market decide how I get my music” aspect as I do about the potential for longevity of CD Audio, the format. It began in the early 1980s (I remember getting my first CD player in 1985), so it’s had a good 30 years to get established. Hm. I’d thought that with the pace of change, that 30 years’ longevity beats out the “digital last forever or 5 years, whichever comes first” rule. What I want to know is whether ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on November 30, 2005 in • DigitalityLongevity
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Oral History at school: Learning by doing: talking, listening

Arizona Republic: Prescott, AZ, area 8th graders are learning history by learning to do oral history.

Edward Berger, state coordinator for the Arizona Heritage Project at Sharlot Hall Museum, is working with eighth-grade students at Mingus Springs, teaching them how to interview people and record their stories.

...“We work with teachers who understand that kids need to be in the community, recording the histories of important people,” Berger said.

The purpose of teaching the kids how to interview significant people in the community is to have them create oral history projects to display in their schools, Berger said.

Also, Berger hopes to get the students’ projects to appear in museums in the state and possibly in the American Life Folk Center in the Library of Congress, which ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on November 28, 2005 in • Oral history in the news
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M-Audio Microtrack 24/96 digital recorder

A new (and promising) digital recorder has arrived. (MSRP: $499.95; Street: $399) Compact, boy howdy, is it compact! 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.1 inches (11 x 6.1 x 2.8cm) With bells and whistles. Uses Flash memory, records uncompressed WAV files.

Connects to computer using USB. Comes with T-shaped small stereo electret microphones, connection stuff, earbuds. It’s mighty tempting. I was debating between the Edirol R-1 and the Marantz PMD 660 for my four-hundred-dolla’ audio flash memory splurge. But this lil’ baby is competition.

It’s got all kinds of connections for input:  stereo mini-plug, two 1/4” jacks (balanced) with mic/line switch (I like it!), and, if you want to, SPDIF for digital recording

I hope to try it out for a test drive. The offices of M-Audiohappen to be the next city away from over. 

The rumors on this puppy are nice.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on November 14, 2005 in • AudioAudio: Hardware
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Dakota Memories Oral History Project

North Dakota State University Oral History Project. Germans from Russia. Nice in that there are documents like scope and permissions form all for the viewing from the web site.

Lots of cool stuff found in the pop-up menus on the site, including the Inteview Topic Checklist (which is a nifty intake form, thanks to that handy-dandy world wide web!) The items that’re are what we’ll be talking about, please check off additionally listed topics you’d feel comfortable and/or interested in discussing) and biography form. It’s a good resource to think about your interviews and prep.

Of course, since it’s for a university-related project, there is a release form. Because this is going to become a resource used by scholars in perpetuity, as curated by the university. So the interviewee (narrator) says, Yes, you have my permission to make use of the interview. But an ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on November 09, 2005 in • InterviewingOral History Projects
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Unknown history, invented history

An 11-year-old named Clara wants to learn more about her own past. Her mother isn’t forthcoming, so she visits an elderly man in town, under the guise of a school oral history project. South Carolina’s The State discusses Shadow Baby, a novel by Alison McGhee.

No, I haven’t read the book. Just saw a mention. I’m intrigued by a story where the process of doing oral history is part of the plot of a novel. A girl seeks answers to questions she has about her life. This resonates because it’s the reason I stumbled onto oral history in my family. To explore the question, “What happened?” But probably ultimately to explore the question, “Who am I?”

Here’s a bit about how Clara, the protagonist of Shadow Baby, describes it:

“We started out as interviewer and interviewee, but that changed,” Clara says. “There were things the old man and I knew about each other. After a while, I just visited him, compadre to compadre.

“I used to write down his ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on November 01, 2005 in • General
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Rarities Online

Library Journal: Digitizing special collections and putting them online, a process that marks a golden age for libraries. No longer are collections limited by physical access available only to a few.

Indeed, digitization, high-speed connections, and suites of powerful new tools that allow students and researchers to interact as never before with collections are breaking them free from their climate-controlled exile and putting valuable special collections at the center of exciting new partnerships among librarians, faculty, students, and technicians. It’s still early—but already the results are remarkable.

At Columbia, initiatives like the Columbia University Libraries Digital Program bring together librarians, faculty, and technicians to create cutting-edge digital representations and research tools.

With opportunities and benefits, the challenges remain: acquisition ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • DigitalityOnline Oral History Collections
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