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Cataloging Individual Oral History Interviews

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1 Cataloging Individual Oral History Interviews
Susan C. Wynne OLAC Conference Macon, Georgia 16 October 2010

2 Outline Definition and importance of oral history
Summary of cataloging issues from 2007 survey of Georgia academic libraries Description of CSU project Cataloging decisions/considerations Creating MARC records for individual interviews Exercise


4 What is oral history? “The process of deliberately eliciting and preserving, usually in audio or audio and visual recording media, a person’s spoken recollections of events and experiences based on first-hand knowledge.” Oral History Cataloging Manual

5 Another definition “A process of collecting, usually by means of a tape-recorded interview, recollections, accounts, and personal experience narratives of individuals for the purpose of expanding the historical record of a place, event, person, or cultural group.” Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

6 And another… “Oral history is the recording, preservation and interpretation of historical information, based on the personal experiences and opinions of the speaker.” Wikipedia, 23 August 2010.

7 Oral history interview
Covers subject(s) of historical interest Conducted by an interviewer who has some understanding of the subject(s) Knowledgeable interviewee Interactive Question and answer format Intended to be available to researchers

8 Oral history project “Series of oral history interviews focused on documenting a topic, theme, era, place, organization, event, or group of people, conducted according to a plan, usually under the auspices of an institution or a group of cooperating institutions.” OHCM

9 Oral history collection
“Oral history materials from various interviews not associated with an oral history project, usually assembled at some time after their creation by an individual collector, or by a repository for convenience in management or description. A collection, like an oral history project, often has an identifiable theme or focus.” OHCM

10 Why is oral history important?
Fills gaps in the historical record Supplements and aids in understanding the historical record Often preserves viewpoints or experiences of underrepresented groups May document everyday life or give behind-the- scenes perspective on a well known event, person, organization, etc. Connects personal experiences with history and social context Catalogers may be shifting local expertise to unique or hidden collections

11 Why are oral histories difficult to catalog?
Lack of consensus in access methods Standard manual needs updating “Neither fish nor fowl” … are they more like archival or published materials? Multiple formats Names and organizations often require some authority work Often no dedicated staff or funding for managing access to oral histories May be little or no accompanying information

12 Choice of cataloging methods
MARC records in local catalog and/or WorldCat Finding aids (online and/or print) Inventory In-house Digital library Non-MARC metadata (e.g., Dublin Core)

13 Benefits of the MARC approach
No need to consult a separate resource to discover oral history materials Navigate between oral histories and other types of material on the same subjects Contributing to WorldCat is one way to share beyond the local institution Less of a learning curve if staff are already familiar with MARC

14 Grimsley and Wynne’s 2007 survey
31 Georgia academic institutions Access issues related to oral histories Methods of intellectual access vary Respondents held variety of formats Only one respondent (CSU) reported using OHCM Few respondents reported applying authority control to subjects and names related to oral histories [caveat]

15 Methods of intellectual access in GA academic libraries

16 Cataloging standards/procedures
Standard/procedure Oral History Cataloging Manual 1 Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed. (AACR2) 6 Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts (APPM) Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) 3 Dublin Core Other Metadata Local Procedures 4 Other No Answer 8

17 Columbus State University’s project (or, How did I get myself into this?)
Project initiated by former archivist Reagan Grimsley ~500 oral histories lacking intellectual access except for rudimentary in-house finding aid Many typescripts and analog recordings from the 1970s and 1980s Collaboration between archivist and cataloger New acquisitions and cataloging policies Grant to digitize selected typescripts Collective finding aids and MARC records for selected individual interviews

18 CSU’s workflow Archives staff copy typescript onto acid-free paper and create artificial title page for each typescript Periodicals Assistant prepares photocopied typescript for binding Cataloger creates MARC record using OCLC Connexion Client, exports record from OCLC into ILS, and creates holdings (for copied typescripts only) Cataloging Assistant creates item record and performs minimal physical processing on bound typescript

19 Cataloging considerations (top-level)
Staffing Priority level Size of collection/backlog Transcripts

20 Cataloging considerations
Unit of description Format(s) to be described (especially which format(s) are available for use) “Readily available” information Level of authority control Classification Choice of cataloging method (not discussed in depth here)

21 Unit of description Collection level Project level Individual

22 Collective vs. individual descriptions
Collective (Project or Collection Level) Individual (Item level) Required according to OHCM Oral histories typically collected in groups Consistent with archival principle of provenance Demonstrates shared focus and characteristics within the group Useful when interviews are more meaningful as a group No need to repeat information in multiple individual records Optional according to OHCM More granular access More time-consuming Need a mechanism for demonstrating relationships Useful when interviews may be able to stand alone Useful when information about the collection/project is scarce

23 You can always do both and link from one to the other

24 Formats to be described
Rule: describe the format(s) available for use Optionally, also describe original recordings

25 “Readily available” information
Which pieces of information are most important? How much time can you spend in research? Consider your users, priorities, staffing, and possibly the context of each interview

26 Authority control Contribute records to OCLC authority file (NACO participants) Create records in local system (always, or only in special cases) Construct AACR2 (or RDA?!) headings but do not create authority records Use LCSH or another controlled vocabulary Create a specialized vocabulary Uncontrolled keyword

27 Classification possibilities
Biographies Local history Subject of the interview (i.e., textile mills, school desegregation) Accession number or other local system Class interviews in a project together Others?

28 Crash course in oral histories for catalogers
Context is more important Less emphasis on transcribing information from the item into the record—most information is provided by the cataloger Obtain information from the typescript and/or recording itself, finding aids, release forms, labels, and any accompanying material External reference sources can be helpful and sometimes necessary (to clarify names, events, locations, etc.) Copious notes

29 OHCM’s fundamental elements for individual interviews
Indication of form (i.e., oral history interview) Name(s) of interviewee(s) Date(s) of interview Statement of quantity or extent, including physical format Name(s) of interviewer(s)

30 OHCM’s fundamental elements for individual interviews
Language of interview, if other than English Summary of the nature, content, and scope of the interview Restrictions on access and/or use, if applicable Name of the project or collection, if applicable If any of these fundamental elements is not available, state in a note that it is missing

31 2-minute version of this presentation
Who … interviewee(s) & biographical sketch, interviewer(s), persons or groups that are subjects of the interview What … oral history interview, format(s) When … date(s) involved, time periods discussed Where … place(s) discussed in interview, location of interview Why … project or collection name, subjects discussed, summary

32 Walk through a MARC record for an individual interview

33 Type code (Leader/06) Varies according to the format(s) you are describing p (mixed materials) for multiple formats i (nonmusical sound recording) for audio only g (projected media) for video only t (manuscript language material) for unpublished typescript/transcript only

34 BLvl code Depends on unit of description
Cannot use BLvl “m” with mixed materials workform Use “c” with mixed materials workform or for collective description Use “m” when describing one format only

35 Other fixed fields Country code = xxu (unpublished, United States)
Add 006 for each format as needed Add 007 for each format as needed Ctrl = a (archival control) DtSt = usually s (single date) for individual interviews, could be i (inclusive dates) for interviews, projects, or collections spanning different dates

36 006 and 007 examples 006 for typescript: t for sound recording: innn t 007 for sound recording (standard cassette): s $b s $d l $e u $f n $g j $h l $i c $j u $k p $l n $m u $n e

37 Main entry (MARC 1XX or 245) Interviewee (MARC 100)
If multiple interviewees, use the predominant interviewee (or title) Use relator terms in $e 100 1_ $a Perry, Ophelia S., $e interviewee.

38 Title (MARC 245) Form element Name(s) element Date(s) element
GMD not used unless describing only one format: electronic resource, microform, sound recording, or videorecording $a Oral history interview with Ophelia S. Perry, $f 1988 Feb. 23.

39 Statement of responsibility (MARC 245 $c)
OHCM omits statement of responsibility Rule: give responsibility information in notes CSU decided to add SOR: / $c conducted by Harvey Phelps.

40 Edition statement (MARC 250)
Do not give an edition statement If the interview exists in multiple versions (e.g., edited transcript), give this information in a note 500 $a Transcript heavily edited.

41 Publication information (MARC 260)
Do not provide a publication statement for unpublished oral histories Date appears in 245 $f

42 Physical description (MARC 300)
Describe formats available for use (optionally, may also describe original format) Multiple MARC 300 fields if applicable Use $3 with multiple 300 fields to specify the material Required: specific material designation and number of units Optional: playing time, type of recording (analog or digital), playing speed, dimensions Playing time is usually not readily available for CSU’s holdings

43 Physical description examples
300 __ $3 Typescript: $a 13 leaves, bound ; $c 29 cm. 300 __ $3 Sound recording: $a 1 sound cassette : $b analog.

44 Series statements OHCM: Concept of series does not apply to oral histories CSU uses series statements as one means to collocate projects and collections in the absence of collective descriptions CSU also collocates the entire oral history collection with a series statement

45 Series statement examples
830 _0 $a Mill worker oral history collection 830 _0 $a Columbus State University oral history collection

46 Minimum required notes in OHCM
Interview details (MARC 518) Scope/content/abstract (MARC 520)

47 Interview details (MARC 518)
Required: Date(s) of interview Name of interviewer Language (if other than English) Optional: Location of interview Names of any other persons present Sponsorship (if applicable) Any other circumstances surrounding the interview

48 Interview details example
518 __ $a Interview conducted by Harvey Phelps in Columbus, Ga., for the Mill Worker Oral History Project, 23 February

49 Scope/Content/Abstract (MARC 520)
Topics, conditions, issues, etc. Events, activities, etc. Places or geographic areas People Organizations Time periods Opinions/attitudes of interviewee Summary of stories/anecdotes

50 Scope/content/abstract example
520 __ $a Ophelia Perry discusses working conditions, wages, labor- management relations, race relations, benefits, and women’s jobs, in the Bibb Manufacturing Company mill during World War II through the 1970s.

51 Biographical information about interviewee (MARC 545)
Birthplace Education Race, ethnicity, nationality Family information Occupation(s) Political/religious/other affiliations Accomplishments Other…

52 Biographical sketch example
545 __ $a Ophelia Perry, who was born in Harris County, Ga. and moved to Columbus, Ga., during the Depression, worked in the Bibb Manufacturing Company mill from 1940 to the 1970s.

53 Other notes Additional physical form available (MARC 530) for digitized typescripts Restrictions on access (MARC 506) Terms for use and reproduction (MARC 540) Reproduction, if applicable (MARC 533)

54 Other notes Location of originals or duplicates (MARC 535)
Provenance (MARC 561) Immediate source of acquisition (MARC 541) Finding aids (MARC 555) Citation (MARC 510)—refer to other works that index, describe, cite, etc. the interview(s) Preferred form of citation (MARC 524)—of the interview(s) themselves Publications (MARC 581)—cite works based on the interview(s)

55 Other notes Supplementary materials Relationships to other materials
Missing information Transcripts—versions, editing, etc. Any other information deemed important not covered by other notes Sound recording is housed in the Manuscript Collection at call no. MC 109.

56 Notes examples 506 __ $a Available for use only in the Columbus State University Archives Reading Room. 540 __ $a Permission to publish material from the Columbus State University Oral History Collection must be obtained from the Columbus State University Archives _ $a Finding aid available in the Columbus State University Archives and online.

57 Notes examples 541 1_ $c Gift; $a John Smith, $b Columbus State University History Department, $d __ $a Oral history interview with Ophelia S. Perry, 1988 Feb. 23, Columbus State University Archives, Columbus, Georgia. (524 __ $a [Title of interview], [date of interview], Columbus State University Archives, Columbus, Georgia.)

58 Access points for individual interviews
Additional interviewees other than the main entry—use relator term $e interviewee (MARC 700) Interviewer(s)—use relator term $e interviewer (MARC 700) Name of the oral history project (MARC 710) Any corporate bodies associated with the interview, project, or collection (MARC 710) Alternate titles (e.g., title supplied by the interviewer or transcriber) (MARC 246)

59 Access points examples
700 1_ $a Phelps, Harvey, $e interviewer _ $a Mill Worker Oral History Project _ $i Caption title on typescript: $a Beeler Haines interview

60 Subject access Not covered by OHCM, AACR2, DACS … will be covered in RDA later? Name of interviewee(s) with $v Interviews. (MARC 600) Names of other people that are prominent subjects of the interview Organizations or corporate bodies that are prominent subjects in the interview (MARC 610) Geographic headings for places discussed (MARC 651) Topical headings for subjects discussed (MARC 650) Classes of people or ethnic groups, as applicable Title or name-title entries for named works that are subjects of the interview

61 Subject access LCSH may not be specific enough for specialized collections Subject-specific thesaurus Locally developed thesaurus

62 Subject access examples
$a Perry, Ophelia S. $v Interviews $a Bibb Manufacturing Company $x History $a Bibb Manufacturing Company $x Employees. 650 _0 $a Cotton textile industry $z Georgia $z Bibb City $x History. 650 _0 $a Women textile workers $z Georgia $z Bibb City $v Interviews. 650 _0 $a African Americans $z Georgia $z Bibb City $v Interviews. 651 _0 $a Bibb City (Ga.) $x History $y 20th century.

63 Genre/form access Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials 655 _7 Oral histories. $2 lcgft (practice to be implemented late 2010/early 2011?) Art & Architecture Thesaurus 655 _7 Oral histories. $2 aat 655 _7 Transcripts. $2 aat

64 Links to online content, when applicable (MARC 856)
Digital version of typescript, audio, video, etc. $3 Typescript $u /OpheliaPerry-OralHistory.pdf Finding aid(s) $3 Finding aid $u mc109.php

65 Linking collective and individual descriptions (MARC 773)
Only if creating BOTH collective and individual description Use “Forms part of” Give project or collection title (created according to guidelines for project or collection titles) $i Forms part of: $a Mill Worker Oral History Project.

66 Record examples Connexion browser
CSU catalog







73 Exercise Frank Brown interview

74 Were rules meant to be broken?
Do consider the unique needs of your users and your collections (and your staffing/workflow) MARC records unlikely to be used for traditional copy cataloging, but… You may be crosswalking them into non-MARC metadata … which may be harvested by other institutions … and repackaged in unexpected ways How does your data look outside the catalog, and outside of your institution? (“On a horse”)

75 Advice Standardize what you can (title format, 006/007/300 for common format(s), selected notes, genre/form headings, etc.) Use constant data, templates, macros, text strings, etc. when you can Document decisions—choice of thesaurus or classification scheme, deviations from guidelines, etc. Provide context in notes

76 Collaboration between catalogers, archivists, oral historians
“All my investigations point to the information gap between the creators of oral histories and those who care for them. The need for standards, best practices, and a spirit of collaboration is essential … to ensure that the work of oral historians is preserved as part of our cultural heritage.” --Nancy MacKay, Curating Oral Histories: From Interview to Archive (Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press, 2007), preface.

77 Awareness of non-cataloging issues (which may affect cataloging)
Ownership Consent forms Preservation Format refreshment or transfer Restrictions on access Transcription Technology Acquisitions and collecting policies

78 Information forms Names of interviewee(s) and interviewer(s)
Date(s) and location(s) of interview Summary of content Biographical information about interviewee Subject keywords or places, topics, events, etc. discussed Name of oral history project, program, etc. Sponsoring institution Access restrictions Playing time of recordings

79 RDA and oral histories? Glossary and Recording content type
Content (MARC 336), Media (MARC 337), Carrier (MARC 338) Content type “spoken word” includes oral histories Relationships Interviewee and interviewer are relationship designators for creators (work-level relationship)





84 Questions?


86 Contact me Susan Wynne University of Wyoming

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