My life: children and videorecorders

My Life as A Child- A 6-part documentary on The Learning Channel. Make friends with the video recorder, never watch the tapes. Looks interesting, I’ll have to see if it can be recorded on my boyfriend’s TiVo (I’m TV-less).

Each one-hour episode of “My Life” has the look of a home video, switching among the stories of three or four children. The 7- to 11-year-old subjects, mostly identified only by first names in the series, made their cameras part of graduations and lying-in-bed ruminations. The young filmmakers were free to focus on whatever they wished, guided by the producers’ questions about their particular challenges and what defines them and makes them tick. The children delivered hours of tape to be edited.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 26, 2007 in • Personal History
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Evoca- Record to this site from your phone

They’ve got a page devoted to oral history; Donald Ritchie is an advisor. Gotta check it out. It has that Web 2.0 shiny hype headline of “Evoca will change the way oral history is done.” (Thank goodness it does not say that “it will take your oral histories to the next level!” – can you tell I used to work in the software biz?) Anyway, there’s a nice quick guide on that page. I gotta check out the site some more. [via Place Based Education]

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 14, 2007 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareDo it: YourselfLinks
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Interviewing, redux

Questions! We get questions. Today, I got a question that went something like this: “Do you know of a resource for interviews? I’m going to interview my parents.” For interviewing tips, be sure to check out the Interview category of posts here. There are a ton, there.

The question also tells me that it’s getting time to do a redesign to make things easier to find here. Any thoughts or suggestions you have about the site, please chime in at the comments. Thanks!

UPDATE: Got a good comment to this post: where to find a list of qusetions? Best and quickest place, hands down, is the StoryCorps question generator.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 12, 2007 in • HousekeepingInterviewing
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Black History Month: A Special Black Oral History Project

AP story/Detroit News: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting funds a year-long project, “Storycorps Griot,” stories of African Americans. Sound Portraits Productions (from whence Storycorps) will collect 1500 interviews in 9 locations. The recordings will be kept at the Library of Congress (all StoryCorps recordings go there), as well as to the future Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“Griot” comes from a West African tradition: it is “a role of honor, designating someone who maintains community tradition and memory through storytelling, music, and dance.” [source]

The cities on the tour: Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Clarksdale, Mississippi; Detroit, Michigan; Montgomery, Alabama; Selma, Alabama; Newark, New Jersey; and Oakland, California. (I count 8, maybe home-based New York City is the 9th, or maybe Washington DC?)

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • Oral History Projects
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When family stories are top secret

Chris Dolley finds out what his dad did during the war. Dolley’s Dad took his secret to his grave, but a BBC interview with another seaman revealed the essential clue. [via The Genealogue] This is one of those cases where presonal history intersects with History (cap H) history. And demands of History (or State secrets) required a big blank in the personal history record.

So I clicked the link. And found an interview with an able seaman from the Bulldog talking about the North Atlantic convoys and the day they captured the German submarine U-110. My father was listed as one of the eight men mentioned in despatches for their part in capturing the submarine.

I was amazed. I’d known that my father had been ‘mentioned in despatches’ but had never been able to track down what for. His service record didn’t say - which the MOD admitted was strange - and he’d never spoken of it. My mother had told me that once, after a large amount of drink, he’d started to tell her about something he did that had saved a lot of ships but he’d denied it all the next day and ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • HistoryPersonal History
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Save My Memories

A website devoted to longevity and preservation of digital photographs. A site put together by the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A). Cause you want to “remember the day in pictures” but not have your digital images go to “file heaven”– that location the bits go when your disk drive crashes or you accidentally erase the files.
[via Digitzation 101 via Richard Hess]

And while digital technologies have changed the way we capture and share photos, the desire to safeguard our visual heritage today, and in the future, remains essentially the same.

The companies that comprise the International Imaging Industry Association, or I3A, understand this all too well. That’s why we created this site—to help you understand how to protect and preserve your photographic memories for years to come.

The issues with digital preservation of photographs are bascially the same as the issues of digital preservation of spoken word stories. Once the files exist as digital files (hey, it’s all bits), you’re in the realm of preserving digital media. This page ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 11, 2007 in • DigitalityLongevityPhotographs
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Protecting CDs

The Practical Archivist: Have you been protecting the wrong side of your CDs? With link to a cutaway image that. Ow: she recommends jewel cases, not envelopes. Sigh. (Yep, I use envelopes)

I no longer use Sharpies on my disks, but CD/DVD markers made for the purpose. Sally Jacobs recommends writing only on the clear center section of the disk. I’m not there yet.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 04, 2007 in • DigitalityLongevity
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Memories of War

Young Voices in Wartime : I heard a tantalizing portion of Talk of the Nation last night*: Discussion of diaries kept in wartime from WW1 to Iraq. While fascinating in its own right, it also brought out the issue of memory.

Right as I arrived at my destination (and, therefore, had to shut off the radio, dangit), a discussion about the nature of memory was in full swing. A diary kept at the time often surprises the writer when he or she reads it later. A caller, born in 1932, kept a diary during WW2, and said he was surprised at what was there—it was as though a different person wrote it.

In my own experience of re-reading diaries of younger days, things that stand out to me later aren’t necessarily the things i wrote about at the time. Memory can be tricky that way. (Something to bear in mind when asking someone to recall stories from his or her youth. Yes, those are recolletions, but the sifting of ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 02, 2007 in • Personal History
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