Enhancing Access to Online Oral History: Oral history in the Digital Age (OHDA) and Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS)

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Dean Rehberger

    Michigan State University

  2. 2. Douglas Boyd

    University of Kentucky

Work text
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Oral history is in a profound transition, from an extensive period when sophisticated technology meant utilizing tape cassettes, to a time when the field has moved into the digital, networked, multi-media rich age. The transition into a digital world, and the flexibility it brings, has changed the costs of doing oral history, standards of practice and scholarship, and the vehicles for access. Resulting issues are deeply complex and often dynamic. Digital video is now readily affordable, but the field remains deeply divided over its use and role. Equally important, the digital age makes widespread access and use of both audio and video oral narratives, as well as transcripts, increasingly affordable, but it also highlights major questions about intellectual property rights and informed consent. The Oral History in the Digital Age (http://ohda.matrix.msu.edu) attempts to address many issues faced with new technologies.

OHDA has over 72 essays, 12 videos, and many other resources, including an interactive review of recording equipment called "Ask Doug," a large collection of online oral history collections, and consent forms. Oral History in the Digital Age (OHDA) is a product of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership project and a collaboration among the Michigan State University Museum; Michigan State University Digital Humanities Center, Matrix; the American Folklife Center (AFC/LOC), the Library of Congress; the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH); the American Folklore Society (AFS); the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries; and the Oral History Association.

In development with OHDA is the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS). The Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries has created a web-based, system called OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer) to inexpensively and efficiently enhance access to oral history online. OHMS provides users word-level search capability and a time-correlated transcript or index connecting the textual search term to the corresponding moment in the recorded interview online.

In 2011, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded the Nunn Center a $195,853 National Leadership Grant to further develop their Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS). The grant project is designed to prepare OHMS for open source distribution and to create compatibility between OHMS and other popular content management systems empowering institutions, both large and small, to provide an effective, user-centered discovery interface for oral history on a large scale. In addition to developing OHMS compatibility with open source content management systems such as OMEKA and KORA, and larger scale commercial systems such as CONTENTdm, this project has developed multimedia tutorials instructing users on the use, installation and deployment of OHMS within particular content management systems.

Beginning in 2013, the open source OHMS system has integrated an interview-indexing module. Instead of relying solely on transcription, OHMS can now be utilized to create segment-level metadata that correlates to the corresponding moment in the recorded online interview. The new interview-indexing module opens up new capabilities for OHMS and expands possibilities for quickly providing enhanced access to far more interviews online for a fraction of the price of transcription.

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2014
"Digital Cultural Empowerment"

Hosted at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Université de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

July 7, 2014 - July 12, 2014

377 works by 898 authors indexed

XML available from https://github.com/elliewix/DHAnalysis (needs to replace plaintext)

Conference website: https://web.archive.org/web/20161227182033/https://dh2014.org/program/

Attendance: 750 delegates according to Nyhan 2016

Series: ADHO (9)

Organizers: ADHO