Metadata: Best Practices for Oral History Access and Preservation

TitleMetadata: Best Practices for Oral History Access and Preservation
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsMaze´, Elinor

'[[BCK presented at the Oral History Association (OHA) years ago, Tomie Hahn is also involved]]\n \nElinor Maze: Senior Editor at the Baylor University Institute for Oral History\n \nThe OHA lists principles for oral history and best practices for oral history:\n\n\nInterviewers, sponsoring institutions, and institutions charged with the preservation of oral history interviews should understand that appropriate care and storage of original recordings begins immediately after their creation.\n\n\ncare of the (meta) data\n\n\n\n\nInterviewers should document their preparation and methods, including the circumstances of the interviews and provide that information to whatever repository will be preserving and providing access to the interview.\n\n\ncontext – a key focus in Dominic’s project?\n\n\ndata about how the data was collected, gets into provenance too.\n\n\n\n\nTotal of 5…\n\n\n“the curator’s mission.”\n[[my stuff in diss on curating new contexts, data…]]\n[[relation between curation and care]]\n“It involves documenting the context of an interview, set of interviews, or interview project, in part to establish its status as a “trusted body” of information.”\n \n[[see kirk’s critique of an “honest broker” (fractracker?)]]\n \nIt involves caring for oral history interviews in all their forms from the moment of their creation (or even before) into the indefinite future; it involves caring for originals and derivatives, maintaining their integrity and reliability, making them accessible through changes in technology for disparate uses and users, and, increasingly, adding value to them through application of both sophisticated and informal analytic tools.\n[[as with our annotations – see Alvey’s developing thesis on the myth of the “raw.”]]\n \n“Understanding metadata challenges oral historians to understand the greatly enhanced opportunities that digital documentation offers to add value to the interviews they record. Broadly understood, metadata makes possible the discovery of themes and meaningful relationships within interviews, among sets of interviews, and with other digitally represented resources. “\n[[patterns that connect.]]\n[[first series of bulleted lists good for adding to our table. Notes like this, in this doc, are generally in a second “to do” list following the questions list at the bottom. Both are intended to move our WG prep and work forward, so need to be folded into the appropriate sections of our two working docs in google Drive]]\n \nDefining sets of terms—metadata elements—to document all of these disparate kinds of objects and their relationships to each other poses significant challenges to oral history curators. It requires access to technical expertise and analytical tools and processes from several disciplines, as well as acquaintance with a broad range of standards and best practices for metadata formulation, collection, and use. At the same time, because oral history must be accessible by users and researchers with a broad range of technical expertise and resources, curators are obligated to make access simple in spite of the complexities they must master to do so.\n[[big challenge, necessary, needs interdisciplinary team]]\nIt is frequently asserted that metadata conventions, standards, and best practices are best governed by the communities which need and use the metadata.\n[[“communities know what they need where they’re at” (CommunityLAB, common sentiment in community organizing circles) vs./& Dean’s dissertation finding that sometimes they don’t. It’s a type of expertise: elicitation acumen… do we know, in PECE, all we could about what meta-data elements we need?]]\n \nBecause oral history is a practice which spans many communities, both academic and popular, both professional and amateur, and of a wide range of size and resource endowment, generally-agreed-on metadata standards have not evolved. \n[[“have not evolved.” How can we help them to evolve?\nSL/DL: Need to see the diversity within “digital humanities.” Need to understand digital practices and the differences in data practices between diverse research communities (one goal of BoF)]]\n \n“Functions of meta-data for oral history”\n[[see Functions section of visualization doc]]\n \nfirst category of function: “Creation, multiversioning, reuse, and recontextualization”\n[[Has RDA written all over it… also Derrida (iteration, polyphony)]]\n \nExtracts of audio or video recordings, with or without transcripts, may be made accessible on Web pages, or included in documentary films, performances, or art works of various kinds.\n[[we’ve been after this for a while with TAF, i.e. Tomie Hahn… circling back to OHA..]]\n \n“They may be assessed by various linguistic, sociological, or other analytic tools that have little relation to the original historical interests of the interview project.”\n[[explanatory pluralism, strong objectivity, many maps]]\n \n[[relationship between computer-readable metadata? As deliverable. And computer-enabled social science interpretation (i.e. Atlas ti) and conceptions of objectivity/bias/homogeneity? goal: invent forms of meta-data that are a bit less reductionist, or reduced differently? What do we gain/lose by needing it to be machine readable? What does this actually look like? And METS 2.0 aims to be better designed for semantic web capabilities – but what version of semantics are they mobilizing? What can it actually do? Promise of smarter machines, singularity… vs multiplicity (D&G)?]]\n \nsecond category (of Function): “organization and description”\n[[“folksonomies” // light structure?]]\n \nthird is Validation [[put all these in the WG case statement!]]\n - brcostelloekuehn'