Winter 2014 *Premier web-based edition*

Dialogue: The Newsletter of the Oral History Section
Society of American Archivists

Winter 2014 *Premier web-based edition*

From the Chair

Section news and updates from our Chair, Cecilia L. Salvatore.  Read full article >>


Spotlight: Privacy, Academic Freedom, and the Law

Keeping Stories: Archiving Oral Histories in Troubled Times
James King, M.A., Doctoral Student, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

The recent Chronicle of Higher Education story, "Secrets From Belfast," concludes with the lament, "The project itself is dead.  No more books, no more revelations, no further insights into the minds of former paramilitary fighters."[i]  If no more of the Belfast Project's oral histories will truly ever be heard, the the case represents a significant historical loss. 
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Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations and Google Find-ability
Sady Sullivan, Director of Oral History, Co-Director, Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations, Brooklyn Historical Society

Search engine optimization (SEO), or Google find-ability, is a goal for most websites, particularly digital humanities sites that bring archival collections to light online.
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Oral History News 

Oral History and Folklife Research, Inc. Announces Formation of New Nonprofit
Keith Ludden, M.A., Intercultural and Folk Studies

Giving voice to history and preserving treasures is the mission of a new nonprofit organization formed last summer.
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Finding Oral History Collections in KY Just Got Easier!
Sarah Milligan, Kentucky Historical Society, Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History

Pass the Word is Kentucky’s online oral history discovery tool that serves as a centralized database for oral history collections located at libraries, museums and archives throughout the state that provide access and care for the collections.
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University of California, San Francisco Tobacco Control Oral History Collection
René Radusky, Fall 2013 Intern, UCSF Archives and Special Collections

The Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California (UCSF) is an internationally recognized collaborative effort dedicated to reducing deaths associated with tobacco and the tobacco industry, conducting research in the areas of how to treat tobacco addiction, the effects of second hand smoke, the efforts of the tobacco industry to promote its use and other tobacco-related topics.
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The Civil Rights History Project
Kate Stewart, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

In 2009, the Civil Rights History Project Act initiated a joint oral history project sponsored by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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The “Echoes of Lloyd-Ricks-Watson” Oral History Project Receives Award
Ryan P. Semmes, Interim Coordinator, Congressional and Political Research Center
Mississippi State University Libraries

The Mississippi State University Libraries recently received the Elbert R. Hilliard Oral History Award from the Mississippi Historical Society for the “Echoes of Lloyd-Ricks-Watson” Oral History Project.
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The Dole Institute Oral History Project
Erin Wolfe, Dole Archives, The University of Kansas

The Dole Archives is pleased to announce the availability of The Dole Institute Oral History Project. An online exhibit features streaming audio and video, transcripts and descriptions of 72 interviews. This, along with other project details, can be viewed at
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Footprints for Peace Oral History Project: from the coalfields to the capitol
Sarah-Jane M. Poindexter, Archives and Special Collections, University of Louisville Libraries

How do you document a community that is in motion?  What role does “walking” play in social justice and personal journey?  What are the boundaries of traditional oral history methodology?  These are some of the questions I asked myself recently when embarking on an oral history project to document the work of Footprints for Peace, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating change through peaceful action.
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Oral History Calendar

April 3, 2014:
Preserving Oral Histories: Workshop

On Thursday, April 3, Amigos Library Services will hold an online conference entitled "I've Got What in My Library? Caring for Nontraditional Materials." There are many interesting presentations lined up, and they each take only 45 minutes of your time. Of particular interest to the Oral History Section is the 3pm session, "Preserving Community Oral Histories." Lauren Goodley will be presenting on this topic. She will discuss digitization and reformatting of obsolete formats, and the preservation of digitized as well as oral histories recorded digitally. Her talk will summarize the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education curriculum, and give examples from her work with reformatting both in house and using vendors. For more information and to register, visit the conference site at

September 12-13, 2014:
Midwest Archives Conference
“Oral History, Archives, and Innovation” Symposium

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

The digital age has changed many things for archives and archivists, including the ways we collect, curate, and disseminate oral histories. On September 12 and 13, the Midwest Archives Conference will be hosting its 2014 Fall Symposium, “Oral History, Archives, and Innovation” on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. Since Urbana-Champaign is home to many unique oral history projects, including the Evolving Archives (EVA) Initiative, the Lincoln Hall Storyography Project, eBlack C-U, and Illinois Public Media WILL TV’s World War II stories, participants will be immersed in the community’s rich tradition of capturing the history of the “living source.” Doug Boyd PhD, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries, will lead participants through discussions of collection management strategies, transcribing and indexing interviews, format obsolescence, metadata collection, digital preservation, ethical and legal issues, and digital tools for enhancing access to oral histories online. The symposium will collaboratively explore models for processing, preserving and facilitating access to oral histories, drawing heavily from the Oral History in the Digital Age initiative, which continually explores innovative approaches to curating and disseminating oral histories, as well as models created by the Louie B. Nunn Center.

More information is coming to the MAC website soon:


Bethany Anderson, University Archives, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (

Anke Voss, Champaign County Historical Archives, The Urbana Free Library (



Last updated on March 9, 2014 by Jen Eidson