History Spared: New Orleans Public Archives

The story of the archives in the New Orleans Public Library

Chicago Journal: History Spared

So it was a relief, not to mention a bit of a miracle, last Friday when [Alan Harris] Stein got word from the library’s disaster cleanup people that the archives were safe and the building had only suffered minor damage. The news freed up time for him to think about his next project: recording the oral histories of Katrina survivors. To gather the most immediate stories, he plans gathering interviews done by reporters on the scene at places like the Astrodome and the Convention Center. Then, arm interviewers sanctioned by the Oral History Association with digital recorders and send them out in the field. He’d also like to set up a “story booth” in ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 15, 2005 in • General
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Interviewing tips from a psychologist

Detroit Free Press: Louise Reed Ritchie had studied journalism. But she learned far more about the art of interviewing when she trained to be a clinical psychologist. She discusses tips for interviewing, directing her advice to journalists, but using her clinical background.

Before studying clinical psychology, I thought I knew everything about interviewing that a journalist needed to know. Through coursework and experience as a reporter at AP and The Washington Post, I’d learned to get usable quotes from almost anyone, from grieving parents to recalcitrant bureaucrats.

But while working on my doctorate in clinical psychology, I learned how little journalists know about interviewing. Journalists learn to get accurate quotes on deadline. Psychologists learn to get the measure of a soul in 50 minutes.

Training provides the difference.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on August 26, 2005 in • Interviewing
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Association of Personal Historians Conference

November 2005, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Preliminary announcement of event for people who do personal history

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on June 10, 2005 in • General
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PhotoshopNews: Digital Preservation

Jeff Schewe on the preservation of digital photos. The issues are the same for all digital media.

The issues discussed in this article are the same ones for preserving audio and video recordings of family history. Digital Preservation

Digital photography is incredibly fragile and subject to corruption or erasure. It must be stored in redundant media and in redundant locations to be assured that images stored in digital form will still be available in the future. But even if you backup, archive and store your digital images properly, will that guarantee that digital photography will be available in 5, 50 or 500 years from now? Will those steps ensure that photography will be readable and usable forever? [Read More]

One important part of the digital storage equation: Format, ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 23, 2005 in • Longevity
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Students gather oral histories of Montana women

New oral-history collection created by a group of Montana State University undergraduates.

From the Billings Gazette article:

Nineteen MSU students chose female neighbors, relatives, church friends or other acquaintances to interview for a research seminar in women’s studies.

Most of the women were from Montana, and each had to be at least a generation older than the MSU student interviewing them. The oldest woman interviewed was 90.

This topic is close to my heart. My grandmother and her sisters grew up in Billings. The interviewees for this project are about a decade or two younger than she was (born in 1898). But it’s thrilling for me—just knowing that a collection like this exists. And it’s a pointer for others…check out the universities near where your ancestors ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 03, 2005 in • Oral history in the news
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PCWorld.com - Rip Your Records

This how-to article for PC users has many overlaps with digitizing audio recordings you make yourself of family oral history.

Rip your records

The article focuses on vinyl records, but the author tested different hardware and software that comes in handy for inputting family recordings. Of course, it’s likely that you won’t have family recordings on vinyl. But the sound cards, the audio input to computer and the process of digitizing them are very similar

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • AudioAudio: HardwareAudio: Software
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The Oral History of Bus People

Oral History student reflects on benefits of impromptu histories as she waits for a bus

Stardust8032 on impromptu oral history:

The great thing about taking oral history is that I’ve learned that I can find stories anywhere, from anyone - even when waiting for the bus. Although these stories have nothing to do with my project, they were fun to hear, nevertheless.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 28, 2005 in • General
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iPod recorder hack for higher fidelity recording on an iPod

A hack to increase the iPod’s recording quality from 8kHz (the current low, icky rate) up to 96kHz

ipod hackaday: how to record on your ipod (for free). [via Broadcast & Podcast Gadgets]

And you don’t need the Belkin or Griffin add-on microphones, either. Just plug in your own mic. Requires models that can use podzilla (open source software to port Linux onto the iPod). Works with 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation iPods.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 26, 2005 in • AudioAudio: Hardware
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Mike Hurst’s Sound Editing presentation

Synopsis and tutorial movie as part of Sound Editing Training Day (March 15), in NE England.

Written synopsis and links to digital video demo (RealPlayer, QuickTime, Windows Media Player) of using Adobe Audition (Win only) software and the various commands used to minimally process sound to obtain a better quality recording.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 21, 2005 in • AudioAudio: Software
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Saturn to Sponsor StoryCorps Oral History Project

Saturn to be the sole corporate sponsor of the Story Corps project, which will go to 35 cities in the first year.

Press Release

StoryCorps will travel to about 35 cities in the first year in specially equipped mobile recording studios. In each city, people will be able to conduct oral history interviews with a friend, colleague or family member, with the help of a trained facilitator. At the end of the forty-minute session, the participants will be given a broadcast-quality CD of their interview. With permission, a second copy will be archived at the Library of Congress, providing generations to come with access to these moving stories.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 18, 2005 in • Oral history in the news
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Talking History: Aural history and Oral History

Based at the University of Albany, SUNY. Has a weekly broadcast/internet radio program, Talking History.

Talking History home page. Site has links to shows in Real Media and MP3 formats. (Also, the Talking History page at RadioShowLinks.com)

Our mission is to provide teachers, students, researchers and the general public with as broad and outstanding a collection of audio documentaries, speeches, debates, oral histories, conference sessions, commentaries, archival audio sources, and other aural history resources as is available anywhere. We hope to expand our understanding of history by exploring the audio dimensions of our past, and we hope to enlarge the tools and venues of historical research and publication by promoting production of radio documentaries and other forms of aural ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • AudioOnline Oral History CollectionsOral history in the news
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Transom Tools: Marantz PMD 660

Review of the Marantz PMD 660, Solid-state digital recorder at Transom.org

Jeff Towne: The Marantz PMD 660

But they [digital recorders] also require some shifts of paradigm: we no longer record onto a master tape or disc, which will then be saved in an archive. Instead, audio is recorded to a memory card, then transferred to a computer, after which the card is erased and used again.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 09, 2005 in • AudioAudio: Hardware
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The memory of oranges

Citrus days preserved in oral history by Cal State Fullerton

OC Register.com’s article on the Oral History project  (Reg Req’d, use Bugmenot to bypass registration)

Through a $5,000 grant from the California Stories Fund, Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History center conducted 21 interviews with former packinghouse workers, pickers in the fields, growers, and anyone who lived during the farming era to create the history project titled “Packed Up, Squeezed Out: The Citrus Industry in Placentia.”

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 07, 2005 in • Oral history in the news
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What Happened To Audio

Gregory Narain at Corante on recent search engine announcements to index video, skipping over audio

Corante What Happened To Audio link:

I’ve often wondered why video was the next indexed platform, however. Sure, video killed the radio star, but then again audio came first. It seems like we’ve barely mastered the audio techniques, audio recognition, and things of that like but we’re skipping over our roots.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 05, 2005 in • Audio
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Historical Voices

Digital Library Site based around audio materials, housed at Michigan State Univeristy. Links online collections, discussions of best practices for digital audio

Historical Voices, part of the Digital Library Initiative (endowed by NSF , NEH), a site with online exhibits and educational materials, centered around audio files.

The site has a set of research papers (white papers) about issues of digitizing text and audio for archivists, libraries and curators.

Some linked collections in the Historical Voices Galleries:
Studs Terkel
Flint (MI) Strike
Earliest Voice Recordings, History and Politics Out Loud
Oyez Project (US Supreme Court)
... and then some.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 24, 2005 in • LinksOnline Oral History Collections
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