ORAL HISTORY IN THE NEWS
A federal appeals court heard arguments on Wednesday in a closely watched case involving the Belfast Project, a collection of oral-history records of the late-20th-century civil strife in Northern Ireland housed at Boston College. The project is intended to be a resource for journalists, scholars and historians studying the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland. Lawyers for the two lead researchers on the project argued that former IRA members they had interviewed confront “the real risk of physical harm” if the records were turned over to U.S. attorneys, who are seeking them on behalf of the British government. Associated Press (4/4), Chronicle of Higher Education (4/5), Daily Mail (4/5)
ORAL HISTORY PROJECTS
James Boylan, founding editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, reviews the Columbia Center for Oral History’s latest publication After the Fall: New Yorkers Remember September 2001 and the Years That Followed, which presents a broad range of testimonies by New Yorkers differently affected by the tragedy. Columbia Journalism Review (4/9)
Emory University graduate student AnneMarie Mingo discusses the importance of oral history in her dissertation and new documentary, “Hearing Herstory: Black Churchwomen’s Liberative Social Ethics in the Civil Rights Movement.”
ORAL HISTORY METHODOLOGY
On the Digital Omnium blog, Doug Boyd discusses using noise reduction tools for oral history. Using the example of his efforts to digitize the work folklorist Henry Glassie’s reel to reel recordings of his time spent living among residents of the Ballymenone district of Northern Ireland from 1972 to 1982, Boyd exemplifies how using the latest noise reduction tools can produce an audible text that focuses more on the speaker’s voice and less on background noise.
Margaret Hiza Redsteer is a geologist of Native American descent who lives in the Navajo Nation, a Native American reservation in the state of Arizona. She is known for her pioneering work using GPS maps and remote laser sensing data to track landscape level changes on the Navajo Nation. Redsteer is now adding oral history to her methodological toolbox to map the effects of climate change. UN Dispatch (4/4), High Country News (4/4)
RECENTLY RELEASED COLLECTIONS
“A Place at the Table: A Gathering of LGBT Text, Image and Voice,” an exhibit opening April 4 at the University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, will showcase literature, film, photography and other work of LGBT artists.
A highlight of the exhibit is a five-hour oral history interview with American literary figure Alice B. Toklas. UC Berkeley News Center (3/29)
The University of Delaware’s library has put together an oral history of the former Chrysler assembly plant, which ran from the 1950s until being shut down in 2008. The collection includes interviews with 12 former employees of the 3.4 million-square-foot plant, which was originally built to manufacture tanks for the military. Topics include job duties, union activities, changing race and gender relations, plant culture, family life, the introduction of new technology and reactions to the plant’s closure.
In March the NYPL Oral History Project and Archive interviewed Marya Warshaw, who has been the Executive/Artistic Director of BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange since its founding in 1991. Warshaw’s interview captures the unique and vital role BAX has played in the life of many dancers/artists throughout New York City. Archives: Out of the Box (4/3)