By Amanda Nelson, Associate Archivist
Our online oral history collection is one of our most used and cited collections. This past August, I had the privilege of taking a poster about our 5 year National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant-funded project to place over 1,000 oral history transcripts online to the Society of American Archivists (SAA) annual meeting in New Orleans, LA.
The poster, designed by our web developer Ada Uzoma, shows the major steps of the digitization process from finding copyright permissions to digitizing the content itself and how we have worked to add features to the online transcripts to make them more accessible. These features include adding photographs from our visual archives (ESVA), linking the transcripts to their online catalog records from our International Catalog of Sources (ICOS), 2-3 minute audio clips using a Flash audio player chosen by our post-doctoral historian that show the more personal side of the physicists’ personalities and a Google search feature that allows users to search for subjects and names across all of our online transcripts.
In addition to the technical information, it shows how we promote the collection using our Facebook and Twitter accounts with campaigns such as “Physicists Love Libraries!” (physicists describing how libraries impacted them) and “Voices from the Past” (highlights of our 75 audio clips). We also use birthdays and important anniversaries to link our social media users to our online transcripts.
This poster shows why and how we made this collection available online and the reasoning behind our decisions so that possibly other archives can do something similar with their collections. There was an excellent response to the poster at SAA and I enjoyed answering questions and talking about the project I and many others have worked hard on for the past 5 years. If you wish to see a larger image of the poster or have questions, please feel free to anelson [at] aip [dot] org (contact me).