Monday, March 17, 2014

Bringing Our Oral Histories Into the Digital Age with OHMS

In the Oral History and Media Unit, we've been working this year to implement an exciting new digital tool for our oral histories--the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, or OHMS. Developed at the University of Kentucky's Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History under the direction of Doug Boyd, OHMS is an open-sourced, web-based system that allows archives to present digital audiovisual recordings of oral histories alongside transcripts for a more integrated user experience.

OHMS also takes us beyond the world of the transcript by allowing us to offer indexes for our oral history interviews. Traditionally, a researcher could access an oral history either by listening to the recording and/or by reading through the transcript (if a transcript existed…), but with OHMS we can create index headings (sort of like chapter titles) so that a user can quickly skim the contents to get an overview of what's discussed in a particular interview. If you see something that piques your interest, you can click on that index heading to jump directly to that portion of the interview.

We're one of the first institutions to get the OHMS system up and running, and we're excited to announce that we've just finished creating OHMS indexes for our first collection--the Georgia Environmental Oral History Project. With the help of our talented student assistant Chelsea Harvey, we now have fully searchable indexes for all eight interviews in this collection.

Want to try out the new OHMS system? Links to the OHMS indexes have been added to the finding aid for the Georgia Environmental Oral History Project, or you can click through to OHMS directly via one of these suggestions:
  • Listen to James Holland discuss his career as a commercial crabber and Altamaha Riverkeeper
  • Hear Nancy Thomason talk about the fight against beach renourishment on St. Simons Beach
  • Listen to Jean Poleszak talk about her years of community activism as a concerned resident of Jekyll Island
Post by Callie Holmes, Oral History and Media Archivist, Russell Library 

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