Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Indocumentation" as the essense of Oral History

Digital Indexing enhances oral history collections that otherwise cannot be easily accessed. We often use a “shoebox” metaphor to emphasize the importance of indexing: A collection of digital audio or video that is not indexed is in a digital shoebox, which is not much better than a real shoebox of un-digitized cassette or video tapes forgotten in a closet somewhere. By annotating and indexing discrete passages of audio/video, we create access to collections that would otherwise be cumbersome if not impossible to make use of.

Today, I want to take a moment to talk about the recording: The recording itself not only provides “access” to some living memory because it is in a re-playable medium, but it is a form of documentation. It occurs to me that the creation of new documentation is the essential element that makes recorded interviews so powerful. The moment things take documentary form—whether and email, an oral history recording, or even a produced documentary film—is when they have the potential to become part of a larger discourse. This moment of incarnation, or perhaps “indocumentation,” is where ideas become things we can really talk about, but also do something about…

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Locative Metadata

When we index at Randforce, we develop controlled vocabularies (also known as thesauri) for annotated passages of audio and video. Technically, the objects we are indexing are metadata themselves. (Thus we create meta-metadata!) For discussion purposes, the objects we are indexing are a/v clips.

We often conceptualize the process of indexing to be less like "labeling" something (i.e., what is it called?) and more like "putting it somewhere" (i.e., where does it belong?) and we sometimes call this "sorting the laundry." The proverbial laundry baskets are created by us indexers and the objects influence its creation in a meaningful way. It seems to me, that when these terms are fed back to the object, they are a unique type of metadata.

I'd like to propose that this type of metadata being created might be called "locative metadata". Locative metadata, conceptually, is more than an attribute of the object. Locative metadata implies "where it is" relative to other objects in the collection, not just what it is about. Locative metadata might also be a purely digital concept exactly because an object can reside in more than one location at a time (without needing to take up additional space). In this sense, library subject headings--from the book's perspective--is locative metadata, as are hyperlinks to an object from the objects' perspective.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Launching a New Tab.. Tip of the Day

This post may not be about oral history content management, but is certainly topical (for me, today). If you are putting links in your blog, remember to double check that your off-site links open a new tab or window, so that the page being read remains readily available. You can do this by adding a small piece of code.

So if I link to another post in my blog, I will just assume that readers will find their way back here and I won't burden them with an extra tab...

Read an earlier post! (And see you later!)


If I'm sending them away, like to this YouTube video...

Watch this YouTube Video!

I'm going to wait here for them in the old tab. In the latter link, I added
target="_blank" next to href="http://www...." in the Html just before "Watch this YouTube Video". Now we know.

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