Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Innovation in Oral History

Greetings from the National Library of Australia where Michael H. Frisch of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York is speaking on "Managing Oral History Collections in the Digital Age: Towards a Post-Archival Sensibility". Professor Frisch is in Australia for two weeks, as part of an ARC funded study into oral history.  Half of NLA's oral history collection is already available online. I noticed that Professor Frisch is also President of the University at Buffalo Tech Incubator (a new Canberra incubator opened last week).

Professor Frisch discussed how to move beyond a cooking process with oral history. In the past the audio recording would be transcribed and then discarded, whereas now the digital audio can be retained and indexed in a fine grained way. He said this "changed everything, but not really" and mentioned the Oral History in the Digital Age (OHDA) project.

He suggested some trends in oral history duration were short summaries, rather than full transcripts and multi-dimensional indexing. It struck me that the way the demonstrated archival video was indexed looked much like a shot list in video editing.

ps: One disappointment is that the excellent NLA Bookplate and Paperplate Cafes are closed due to the commercial provider ceasing trading this week. In particular I miss the Wombok salad.  I suggest NLA get in a coffee cart in the interim. But I can recommend the Malaysian vegetable curry at the Treasury Cafe opposite the NLA.

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