Friday, June 1, 2012

Oral History Digital Indexing Roles

Digital Indexing work is more akin to art than science. Accordingly, breaking down the process to a series of universally applicable steps or elements is challenging.  This is both because of the nature of the work but also due to the fact that every project we work on is different. Our clients’ placement on the digital spectrum varies--ranging from brand new oral history projects where not a single recording has yet been made to well-developed projects with large amounts of digital material that need to be multi-dimensionally indexed.  Breaking projects into phases, tasks, or other elemental organizational schemes can be done, but is not necessarily the most useful organizational indexing schema for this type of content (if you know what I mean).

The indexing process can be described by the roles of the people involved. These roles described are not mutually exclusive, but they do comprehensively cover the phases of work necessary to get a project from beginning to end. The following titles for the various “roles” are conceptual only.  In some smaller projects, one or two people are taking on all of the roles. In other projects, several people may take on a single role (for example, where volunteers are organized to create annotations). These roles can be filled by people within or outside of an organization, be paid or volunteer positions, and engage highly skilled and knowledgeable people, or not.  They are presented here as a basic guideline of “who and what” is needed within an annotation/indexing project, and each role will be described in more detail in their own post.
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