Recording Memories before They Slip Away Completely

For Better or For Worse, 8/3/2008 Mementos Help preserve memories. From the Mayo Clinic’s suggestions for helping people with Alzheimer’s cope with the disease. “Alzheimer’s steals away memories, but tangible mementos can help people remember their past.” [via Storycatching, by Pat McNees]

This is a counterpoint to the stance I took during the Q&A article, “I want to interview my parents. Does that mean I think they’re at death’s door?” In the Q&A, I assumed from the questioner’s age that his parents were in good health. But there are those whose parents are not in good heath, and Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia come and steal away what this article calls the tapestry woven from the memories of events in a person’s life.

Alzheimer’s disease gradually robs people of the memories that make up their tapestries. You can help mend these holes by creating a tangible repository of memories — in a scrapbook, videotape or audiotape.

In addition to writing memories in ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 13, 2009 in • InterviewingPersonal History
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Restored Reel-to-Reel Tape Decks as Art.

image A Gallery of Custom Tape Decks, wherein Jeff Jacobs restores old audio technology as art, via BoingBoing Gadgets. I love the meta-line here. Jacobs restores tape decks, which I think of as tools for restoring (and digitizing) audio. If tape decks are art, then there’s a ton of art at Richard Hess’s audio tape restoration studio! In decades to come, when those machines grow ever scarcer, the BoingBoing post points to another source to find those long-obsolete tape decks of the world: the personal collections of geeks.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 12, 2009 in • AudioAudio: HardwareLongevityMemorabiliaRestoration
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Sens Feinstein, et. al., introduce bill to create Civil Rights Oral History Project

From Sen. Feinstein’s office: “Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced legislation to create a Civil Rights Oral History Project, a joint effort between the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress to collect oral histories of those involved in the Civil Rights Movement and preserve them for future generations.” It will be like the Veterans History Project in that it would be a project of the Library of Congress

Just saw word of this from Senator Feinstein via Twitter. I asked how it will differ from the Voices of Civil Rights project, which I wrote about yesterday. The Voices of Civil Rights project is a joint project, where the Library of Congress is one of the sponsors, along with AARP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR).

While I was poking around on the Voices of Civil Rights site yesterday, I had a question to ask them—is the project still conducting any interviews, or is their total populatino of interviews limited to those collected during their national bus tour in 2004. Good question, right? The email address doesn’t work, though: It bounced!  Doesn’t need an act ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 09, 2009 in • Oral History ProjectsVeterans History Project
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London: Digital Lives Research Conference

image Feb 9-11 in London: 1st Digital Lives Research Conference is from the project of interest to “individuals who wish to manage their own personal digital collections for family history, biographical or other purposes.”

There’s a blog associated with the Project/Conference. Have no idea if there’ll be postings from the conference, as the blog’s author, Jeremy John said, “My new year resolution is to blog more frequently.” (ahem, Jeremy. I can relate!)

Conference topics include:

  • Digital Lifelines: Practicalities, Professionalities and Potentialities
    • Aspects of Digital Curation
    • Digital Economy and Philosophy
    • On the Monetary Value of Personal Digital Objects
    • Digital Preservation
    • Practical Experiences
    • Professional Matters Arising, Options for the Future and Resolutions
  • Personal Information Lifecycles: Creator, Curator, Consumer

    • Personal Information Management and Usability
    • Forensics, Authenticity, ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 08, 2009 in • Digitality
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It’s our past coming back to life

image Wow. 32-page typewritten transcript – from 100 years ago – provides a description of a pictoral history of Sioux nation. The Twin Cites (MN) family finds it in a trunk of Grandma’s old possessions (Great-Grandma typed it up), and gives a copy of it to members of the Lakota tribe.

Libby Holden [pictured with transcript, above] said her grandmother, who inherited the oral history, never spoke about it. It’s possible she never knew she had the document. When she died, her possessions were stored at the family’s printing company.

Last summer, Libby Holden and several other family members began sorting through the items. Holden says one big musty old trunk was especially interesting. [... It] contained the White Horse oral history. She said it’s possible the items were packed away by her great-grandmother and left untouched by her descendants.

Holden’s great grandparents had lots of contacts with Native Americans; their great grandfather was a lawyer ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 03, 2009 in • MemorabiliaOral history in the news
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