38 Articles
Medium 9781538106228

Introduction from the Guest Editors

Juilee Decker Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Introduction from the Guest Editors

Greg Lambousy and Mark Cave

The role of oral history in the work of archives and museums has assumed new dimensions in recent years. Technology has enabled creative methods of gathering and sharing personal narratives. Such technology has driven efforts to digitize analog recordings long forgotten in the vaults of local archives and opened them up to a global audience through online presentation. Access should certainly be viewed as a positive, but it has raised important concerns regarding donor agreements and the expectations of interviewees. With online presentation—often the perceived end product of new oral history projects conceived by archives and museums—new concerns arise regarding the impact that this expected dissemination may have on what the interviewee chooses to share during the interview. In addition, proper contextualization of the interview is necessary when the content is cut into smaller segments in the form of interview clips provided online.

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Medium 9781538106228

Listening to Scientists’ Stories

Juilee Decker Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Listening to Scientists’ Stories

Using the British Library’s “An Oral History of British Science” Archive

Ruth Wainman

School of History, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom, prw21@kent.ac.uk

Abstract The British Library’s “An Oral History of British Science” (OHBS) was created in 2009 to address the dearth of oral history archives in the United Kingdom dedicated to capturing the personal experiences of British scientists. This article examines the implications of using an oral history archive from the perspective of a historian of science to write about scientists’ identities during their doctoral research. The advantages of using life history interviews to explore scientists’ stories are situated within the longer historiographical trajectories of oral history and the history of science. In addition, this article reflects on the process of using a recent oral history archive that has not only allowed for an almost unprecedented access into the personal and working lives of recent scientists but also afforded a greater insight into the creation and aims of the OHBS itself.

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The Brooklyn Listening Project

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The Brooklyn Listening Project

Using Oral History as a Pedagogical Tool

Colleen Bradley-Sanders

Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York, C.Bradley-Sanders17@brooklyn.cuny.edu

Abstract The Brooklyn College Listening Project is designed to engage students in active learning through the inclusion of an oral history interview assignment in a variety of humanities courses, including history, English, sociology, music, journalism, and more. The products of these interviews, oral history recordings, are creating an archive of student-generated material. The benefits to the students extend beyond the simple completion of an assignment for a grade. With the diversity of races and cultures at Brooklyn College, students make connections with classmates and interview subjects that might not otherwise occur. As one student commented, “There is more to learn and know about the world, than just the people that you look like.”1 Written by the college archivist, this article examines the history of the still-young program and the difficulty in archiving the recordings and making them available to the public.

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Past Forward

Juilee Decker Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Past Forward

Oral History Interviews with Holocaust Survivors and Storytelling

Uta Larkey

Associate Professor of German, Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland, ularkey@goucher.edu

Abstract This article highlights new research opportunities on oral history interviews and storytelling. From 2003 to 2013, Goucher College students interviewed Holocaust survivors in Baltimore, Maryland, and publicly retold their stories on campuses, in schools, and in synagogues. These oral history interviews and storytelling presentations are stored in digital form in the Special Collections at the Goucher Library and are currently in the process of being made available online. The students used their chronologically structured interviews to develop their own narration of the survivors’ accounts. The interviews and presentations include a wide variety of survival experiences all over war-torn Europe as well as the survivors’ recollections of their arrival in the United States. The Goucher Testimony Collection adds another aspect to existing archived oral history interviews: the survivors entrust their stories to interviewers the ages of their own grandchildren. The interviews as well as the digitized storytelling presentations are a rich source for comparative analyses with interviews from other collections and/or other forms of testimonies. The techniques and approaches are also applicable to other oral history/storytelling projects, such as with war veterans or immigrants.

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20th-Century Bronx Childhood

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20th-Century Bronx Childhood

Recalling the Faces and Voices

Janet Butler Munch

Professor and Special Collections Librarian, Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, New York, janet.munch@lehman.cuny.edu

Abstract A popular photographic exhibit on childhood, originally featured in the Lehman College Art Gallery in the Bronx, New York, was brought to life two decades later through a library digitization grant. The website Childhood in the Bronx (http://www.lehman.edu/library/childhood-bronx/home.htm) features 61 photographs of boys and girls with family or friends, at play, on streets, and in parks, schools, shelters, hospitals, and other locales. Oral history sound excerpts about their childhood, not heard in the original exhibit, complement the 18 vintage photographs shown. The combination of images with the spoken word enhances the user’s sensory experience with deeper meaning and enjoyment. This article discusses how the project was accomplished and what can be learned from the Lehman digitization team’s experience.

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