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See detailOral History as a multimedia and multidimensional presentation challenge
Lambert, Douglas UL

Scientific Conference (2019, November 13)

Oral History is a multidisciplinary, multinational field based on a format of recorded, usually sit-down interviews, where the past is documented through personal narratives of life experience. In the ... [more ▼]

Oral History is a multidisciplinary, multinational field based on a format of recorded, usually sit-down interviews, where the past is documented through personal narratives of life experience. In the early 2000’s, a new approach to processing and managing oral histories was introduced based on timecode indexing made possible by software environments. This work can be referred to as Oral History Digital Indexing (OHDI), and it represents a suite of activities, tools, methods, and interfaces that have made oral histories more accessible both with and without transcripts, whilst reconnecting navigable text to original recordings for listening and watching. OHDI allows for oral history to be represented in visual, dynamic forms far more palatable to users than the previous default--a collection of transcripts. Pioneering OHDI work was done by Michael Frisch and The Randforce Associates, with whom the author worked with on a number of consulting projects between 2002 and 2018. The focus of these projects was distinctly on comprehensive timecode indexing, the use of annotation as an alternative to word-for-word transcription, and deployment of custom controlled vocabularies (CVs) organized visually as a spatially-meaningful content map. These CVs function like back-of-the-book term indexes providing better “front end” user access, but they have they also been adapted for research applications to organize sets of qualitative analysis codes. Through a post-doctoral research position at the University of Luxembourg, the author is introducing and integrating these OHDI methods into oral history development plans in Luxembourg. Several representative tools, interfaces, and CVs used to make oral histories more multimedia and multidimensional will be presented, all of which will be influential to the in-development “Luxembourgish Oral History Initiative.” [less ▲]

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See detailOral History Choices in the Digital Age: An International Perspective
Lambert, Douglas UL

Scientific Conference (2019, October 17)

Indexing oral histories digitally at the timecode level is a practice increasingly adopted for collections, often with the goal of creating online access to recordings. A particular attraction to using an ... [more ▼]

Indexing oral histories digitally at the timecode level is a practice increasingly adopted for collections, often with the goal of creating online access to recordings. A particular attraction to using an index is that it can be generated in less time than a transcript, especially when both must be done manually. Indexing provides convenient access to original recordings and can be a platform for decision-making about a collection over time, for researchers or collection stewards. In my current work in digital oral history at the University of Luxembourg’s Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH), indexing is being embraced for these strategic and practical benefits. However, indexing approaches I promoted previously in the US will need to be re-envisioned, retooled, and otherwise adapted for new and different cultural and technological contexts. In Europe, many oral history projects tend to be focused on journalistic-style research, so the goal of recording and indexing is different; curating, archiving, and publishing recordings is not necessarily expected or assumed. In Luxembourg and elsewhere in Europe, there is great interest in applying technology-centered analyses to oral history corpora (e.g., topic modeling, sentiment analysis, corpus linguistics, etc.), work predicated on high-quality transcripts rather than indexing. At the same time, improvements have been made in other technology/transcript-centered methods of analysis, such as keyword extraction, named entity recognition, and automated indexing—all of which could advance and improve oral history indexing and analysis practice. These new approaches will be more viable as speech recognition technology continues to improve, making transcripts easier and cheaper to create. As these factors converge, a new balance between transcription, indexing, and human interpretation will develop that supports both conventional oral history uses as well as secondary collection research activities. [less ▲]

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See detailBringing Digital Oral History to Luxembourg
Lambert, Douglas UL

Scientific Conference (2019, September 13)

Oral history is a field with a growing digital component and, as with other DH fields, computer-based techniques and systems have revolutionized the way we process and present content. One particular set ... [more ▼]

Oral history is a field with a growing digital component and, as with other DH fields, computer-based techniques and systems have revolutionized the way we process and present content. One particular set of activities, which I refer to as Oral History Digital Indexing (OHDI), has been important in shaping new processes and methods for organization, analysis, and curation of digital oral history. I have been directly involved with this work in the United States and am currently working in Luxembourg to explore what aspects of OHDI will be appropriate in Europe. In this presentation I will introduce the organizations, projects, and tools that have helped shape OHDI. Among these projects/products is the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, or OHMS, which has two important modes of digital indexing for oral histories. One is a transcript synchronization tool and the second an indexing tool, both of which help create multimedia webpages that connect interviews in an audio/video media player with text representations of the content. OHMS and other tools will be highlighted briefly, while emphasizing that no two systems have exactly the same features. One unifying principle behind OHDI tools is that indexing processes, i.e., creating shorter, summarizing text tied to time points in the a/v media, can and should take priority over word-for-word transcription. The indexing concept leads to multiple options for processing, analyzing, and presenting an oral history and OHDI also provides a framework for operating under the inevitable reality that not all digital processing options are feasible to pursue. [less ▲]

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