By Nancy MacKay
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Additional resources for Curating Oral Histories: From Interview to Archive
With the interview experience fresh in mind, she can recall hardto-decipher sections and correct transcriber errors at the same time. VERIFYING FACTS. Oral historians often acknowledge the difference between memory and the written record by noting discrepancies such as dates, places, and events. These annotations are helpful to users, but they should be made as footnotes or enclosed in brackets in the text, not as changes to the transcript. VERIFYING SPELLING OF PROPER NAMES. Correct spelling and format of proper names is essential for interviews going into an archive.
In the future that is rapidly unfolding, I can claim with considerable confidence, this mode . . ”1 Who Transcribes Transcribing is an art and craft that requires skill and judgment, and the transcriber should be included in the oral history team. Transcription can be done by the interviewer, a staff member, or a professional agency. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. INTERVIEWER. In many ways the interviewer is most qualified to transcribe the interview. As the person best acquainted with the narrator and the subject matter, the interviewer can draw upon the interview experience for deciphering hard-to-understand sections, and recall the context of the interview as she types.
Requires sophisticated machinery to record and play back. • Lifespan of recording media is unknown. • Tape is fragile—it crinkles and stretches. • Recording media inexpensive and generally robust. • Tapes and tape recorders are getting harder to purchase. • No standard for file formats or recording media. • Allows for tracking, editing, and random access. • Format matters! Be aware of proprietary vs. open-source, compressed vs. uncompressed. *Adapted from George Blood’s “Planning an audio preservation transfer project,” presented at the Society of American Archivist’s Conference, 2002, rev.
Curating Oral Histories: From Interview to Archive by Nancy MacKay