Building an Oral History Archive


Long-term preservation plans are an integral part of collecting oral histories. Even if you have plans for present-day use, people 100 years from now want to hear your interviews. In this two-day workshop, Sady Sullivan will guide us in the art and science of building an oral history archive. She will discuss best practices––storage, processing, stabilization, the importance of metadata––as well as how (and when) to make inquiries at existing repositories where we hope to house our projects. We will also go over available (open source and affordable) digital tools. Stepping back from the conventions of the field, we will explore what kinds of alternative archival models exist or might we invent.

We will have the chance to apply what we learn by working with the OHSS collection and your own interviews, walking though archival challenges and outlining key policies for the OHSS archive, such as how visitors will browse, search, and listen to the collections. Who should have access to the archive? Is the library the best place for it? What kind of guidelines will be given to journalists to ensure our narrators’ stories are not manipulated or misconstrued? By the end of the workshop, you’ll be able to show off your archive-literacy, using words like LOCKSS and Drupal.

This workshop is appropriate for teachers, activists, family historians, artists, would-be archivists and others who wish to preserve their interviews.

Instructor: Sady Sullivan