StoryCorps appointment—yeehaw!

In the last few days, I did what I wanted to do two years ago– book an appointment on the traveling StoryCorps booth. My brother and I booked two back-to-back appointments for the StoryCorps booth for a Saturday in January at MacArthur Park, Los Angeles. We’ll each interview one of our parents. I am so stoked.

Two years ago, I receive the weekly email updates for StoryCorps. I followed their progress of the West Coast booth… and the year ended in San Francisco. No new place or date was announced. Then it was the holidays, and I turned my mind to other things. After returning from the mental sojourn, I discovered that StoryCorps was in the general LA area, and all times were booked, sorry. This time around, I got in on the appointment-booking day (first attempt was 5am before starting another leg of the families holiday roadtrip adventure). They weren’t taking bookings at 5am, but they were later that day, when I was in the presence of Mom and Dad and Bro4. Bro4 and I each got on the fone ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 31, 2007 in • Oral History ProjectsPersonal History
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Contents of attic seeks family

In New Zealand, discovery of a suitcase full of memorabilia. Family sought– Mr. Gale or Alma Ansin. [via Megan’s Roots World]

The suitcase, filled with family photographs and personal letters, was found last Friday by builders working in the attic of Caleb Fryatt’s Tweed St home.

Mr Fryatt is hoping to find relatives of the person who owned the case and has appealed for them to get in touch.

He first found out about the suitcase on Monday when he received a phone call from Peter Gooding of Renovation Masters.

Mr Fryatt said he was amazed to find what it contained.

“The stuff in there is just incredible. It’s a very interesting find,” he said. “Once you start looking through it, you don’t want to stop. It’s pretty addictive.”

Among the letters and photos are military buttons, death certificates and ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 23, 2007 in • Memorabilia
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Daria’s first interview

Daria tells about her first interview experience. She found this website, learned about (and then bought) a Zoom H2 Handy recorder, and told me how it worked out. I asked her some more questions. She answered them. Read all about it.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 22, 2007 in • Interviewing
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Oldest WW1 Veteran Dies

[UPDATED] J Russell Coffee, 109, one of 3 remaining WW1 Vets, died. (See also Toledo Blade story). Born 1898. This is not the WW1 Vet I mentioned recently from a NYTimes article.

Coffey had enlisted in the Army while he was a student at Ohio State University in October 1918, a month before the Allied powers and Germany signed a cease-fire agreement. He was discharged a month after the war ended.

His two older brothers fought overseas, and he was disappointed at the time that the war ended before he shipped out. But he told The Associated Press in April 2007: “I think I was good to get out of it.”

Born Sept. 1, 1898, Coffey played semipro baseball in Akron, earned a doctorate in education from New York University, taught in high school and college and raised a family.

He delivered newspapers as a youngster and would read the paper to immigrants, his ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 21, 2007 in • Veterans History Project
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Marantz PMD620 Review


Oryoki’s First Impressions of the Marantz PMD620 (plus responses). It seems as though the preamps are better than expected.

The preamp specifications Marantz publishes for the PMD620 are similar to the specs of the PMD660 recorder.  This is not a good sign, because the PMD660 is (correctly) criticized as having relatively high self-noise and poor performance when recording loud material.

However, in my brief tests the PMD620 sounded better than the specs might suggest.

The built-in mics are adequate.  They have a somewhat better sound when you point the top of the mic at the subject, holding the recorder as if it were a TV remote control.  The sound is thinner and brighter when you point the front or back of the recorder at the subject (this points the top of the recorder and the mics at the ceiling).

...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 20, 2007 in • AudioAudio: Hardware
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Thou shalt not send media to Veterans History Project through U.S. Postal Mail

Side view of a CD that arrived to the Veterans History Project via regular US Post Office mail. When you send your submission, use a commercial delivery service, says the Veterans History Project. Otherwise our screening procedures will obliterate your submissions. I saw dramatic proof of this at the Oral History Association annual meeting in a presentation from the Veterans Health Administration and Veterans History Project.

Talk about Warp Speed! Here’s another view of the damaged disk. This is also a cautionary tale about making sure that you create more than one disk. Redundancy is good. Oh, and make a backup, so you have a second copy. Did I say that redundancy is good? Yep. Thought so.

Top view of a CD that arrived to the Veterans History Project via regular US Post office mail.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 19, 2007 in • Oral History ProjectsVeterans History Project
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CDs and DVDs: Tons of good info

The Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs, A guide for librarians and archivists. Found while researching the layer-cake sandwich of materials in an optical disk. Disk structure page. Did you know that the top side of a CD-R is thin and fragile? I mighta mentioned it before, but this underscores it, in a big way.

Also of note: the tests for aging and shelf-life of CDs and DVDs that you can burn yourself is that their pre-writing shelf life is limited to some 5 years or so. By all means, stock up, but don’t stock up too much.

Gold disks are the best. But that’s a topic for another post.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • ArchivingDigitalityLongevity
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Y2K Retrospective

I write this entry for the Carnival of Genealogy on the 107th anniversary of my grandfather’s birth. The theme for the current carnival is Y2K and the new millenium. Though I could mention the “party like it’s 1999 events” – and shall even do so – what happened in the new month of the new year that began with a 2 and not a 1 – is something that affects my life, this site, and even this carnival to now.

(Y2K itself took place at the recently visited cabin, the one that survived the Slide fire. On new year’s eve, it snowed, and the trip up the mountain was a slow, slidey trek. I came with friends. My parents came up later. The Y2K bug manifested itself in my dad’s carbide cannon that would not fire—turns out the water into which the carbide pellets were dissolved to create acetaline gas was, in fact frozen. On the Thanksgiving visit—interspersed with trips down the street and in the village to survey burned down cabins from the fire, I looked over the cabin log book. The books of entries of cabin visits that stretch back to 1968 are the only items truly worth saving from the cabin. ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 15, 2007 in • Personal History
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Library’s digital storytelling station

Covina library has digital storytelling station to collect stories about city’s 125-year history. Cool. It’s local, very local. I’ll go and see. It’s from a grant award. If it goes well, more of these may pop up in libraries in the State of California.

After winning a competitive grant from the California State Library this summer, the Covina Public Library received a “digital storytelling station,” a massive cabinet full of digital equipment valued at about $3,000.

The equipment, which includes a new Apple iMac computer, a digital camera, a printer, a scanner, a tape deck, a record player and a DVD player, was awarded to the library with the hope of documenting Covina’s history through the eyes of those who lived it.

“We are very excited about this great library program that uses cutting-edge information technology to explore and preserve California’s untold history,” said Susan Hildreth, state librarian of California. “We look ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 13, 2007 in • AudioOral history in the newsVideo
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The Last WW1 Veteran

Over there and Gone forever is a story about Frank Buckles, born 1901, the last surviving veteran of World War 1, found by writer Richard Rubin.

A few years ago, I set out to see if I could find any living American World War I veterans. No one — not the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or the American Legion — knew how many there were or where they might be. As far as I could tell, no one much seemed to care, either.

Eventually, I did find some, including Frank Buckles, who was 102 when we first met. Eighty-six years earlier, he’d lied about his age to enlist. The Army sent him to England but, itching to be near the action, he managed to get himself sent on to France, though never to the trenches.

After the armistice, he was assigned to guard German prisoners waiting to be repatriated. Seeing ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on December 12, 2007 in • HistoryVeterans History Project
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