Thursday, August 16, 2012


Digital Indexing of oral histories begins with the work of interviewer.  In an ideal digital indexing project, the role of the interviewer may continue throughout the process of indexing, and in some cases right through to editing and production. In other cases, the interviewer cannot be involved, for example in older, archival collections. In any oral history, a key responsibility of the interviewer is to know their subject and have conducted thorough background and contextual research.  An interviewer is by default a steward of the recordings, and is thus on some level responsible for seeing through certain follow up steps after the recording is made.  In a project that includes indexing, an interviewer is well positioned—because of their familiarity with the content—to be an annotator and indexer of the material they recorded. This is not imperative, and sometimes has the downside that they are not as objective as a less familiar annotator might be. However, the original interviewer—especially at a time shortly after the interview was conducted—has the potential to most efficiently annotate material, taking advantage of their own memory of the recorded event. When someone besides the interviewer does the annotation, they have the disadvantage of being unfamiliar with the content. 

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