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 Voices and the Archive: Oral History, Research and Researchers Wednesday, 20th November 2013.

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Presentation on theme: " Voices and the Archive: Oral History, Research and Researchers Wednesday, 20th November 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1  Voices and the Archive: Oral History, Research and Researchers Wednesday, 20th November 2013

2  Public archives making more and more material available o See Oral History Collections Online http://wiki.ohda.matrix.msu.edu/index.php/Sites http://wiki.ohda.matrix.msu.edu/index.php/Sites Lists 379+ archives with recordings available on-line Last updated 13 November 2013 o E.g. British Library http://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-historyhttp://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-history Thousands of interviews on-line  See Rob Perks (2009) on the unstoppable rise of oral histories published on-line and Mary Stewart (2010) on the ‘biography’ of the oral history archive  But there is more… Web.2.0 o Online oral history + Blogs + Discussion boards + Mash-ups  What lives beyond the archive?

3  Public archives o E.g Imperial War Museum http://www.iwm.org.uk/co llections/item/object/800 19729 c. 14 mins 54 secs http://www.iwm.org.uk/co llections/item/object/800 19729  Commercial o Video games industry  Antiquarian/Individual o Subject group driven Hobbyists Ideologues Other sources Public institutions Commercial Antiquarian Hobbyists etc.

4  Oral historians generally positive about oral history and Web 1.0; Web 2.0 etc. o Access – curating for a user centered approach (Frisch, 2013) o Extending shared authority into interpretation (High, 2009) o Breaking down boundaries and innovation (Boyd, 2013)  Continuing questions about ‘raw’ and ‘cooked’ (see Frisch and Lambert, 2010)  Linking to other debates e.g. reuse (Bornat, various)  Some concerns o Ethics (Perks, 2009) Larson, 2013) o Progressive narratives of reaking boundaries are suspect (Edgerton, 2008)  However… o Our memories (and histories) are ‘mediated’ by the digital world (van Dijck, 2007)

5  00.36 hours on 30 May, 1941, 25 miles west by south of St. Vincent, Cape Verde Islands, British merchant ship Silveryew, 6,373 tons, was torpedoed by a German U-Boat (U-106).  Silveryew sank with ‘one European and two Chinese’ reported as missing. o British Naval Intelligence, Weekly Intelligence Report (WIR), 6 June 194, no. 65, p. 17 NAA.007.0125

6 Biographical Interview with my father (sup. unpublished biography of his father) Interviews with Jürgen Oesten Videos by video gamers Other interviews Public Histories Books Antiquaria Commemorators Sharkhunters US Millitary/religious UK

7 Commercial Political Hobbyists Commemorators Fascists Gamers Digital Antiquarians Historians

8  ‘ Full’ IWM interview with merchant seamen  Extracts of my father’s interview posted on SoundCloud  Extracts of Jürgen Oesten’s interviews o Ubisoft on YouTube plus… o Sharkhunters DVD 60 with extracts on YouTube  Unwitting (oral) biographies of gamers  Interviews from publications

9  With bitterness, he writes: o It is worthwhile recording here the poor treatment merchant seamen received when their ships were sunk in wartime. Still classed as civilians all pay was stopped from the date of the sinking and no leave was granted. Even to return to their home meant meeting the cost themselves or depending on help from the Seamen's Missions. o As my father had paid into a superannuation fund my mother received a pension of £3.10s in 1941 and no other Government help to bring up a family. On her death in 1957 she was still receiving £3.10s.  Speaks about: o Loss of childhood o Downward mobility  And inaccuracy o He always insisted that MV Silveryew was in convoy

10  Ubisoft (and Sharkhunters) videos o Content driven (how to…) Use thermal currents Attack at night o Self justifying and depoliticised A professional job War is hell ‘Nothing personal’ Friends with the enemy

11  Fictive, e.g. Dize ‘Engineer’ from Hamburg who in his virtual world reported on a discussion board that he had on ‘05 Aug 1941 sunk the Silveryew (Medium Cargo), 5636 tons’. o http://www.subsim.com /radioroom/showthread.php?t=91447 http://www.subsim.com /radioroom/showthread.php?t=91447  Non-fictive: Effing Controller  https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=V1nSSN6dAW8&feature=youtu be_gdata https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=V1nSSN6dAW8&feature=youtu be_gdata

12  Fascists (Sharkhunters) ... Sharkhunters president Harry Cooper, 69.. claimed to be an expert on German U-boat submarines and said of their crews: “I thought these guys were decent and honourable kids. They don’t deserve history to look down on them.” (Harvey, O. Frail war vets..., The Sun, 2006).  Poppyists (Tower Hill)

13  The Reading 70 th Anniversary Service Tower Hill, May 2013 o Roger Hoefling gives a reading beginning with the account of the sinking of MV Silveryew is from 'The Real Cruel Sea' by Richard Woodman o http://www.benjidog.co.uk/Tower%20Hill/Cere monies.html http://www.benjidog.co.uk/Tower%20Hill/Cere monies.html  Digital antiquarians o http://uboat.net/allies/ merchants/ships/954.ht ml http://uboat.net/allies/ merchants/ships/954.ht ml o http://www.wrecksite.eu /wreck.aspx?58337 http://www.wrecksite.eu /wreck.aspx?58337 o Blogs and discussion boards in Spanish, French, English…

14  Lack of publishing chain  The path of plagiarism amongst antiquarians o Repetition of false information from Wreck site to Wikipedia  Permanency, e.g. YouTube video of Oesten describing U-106 attack on HMS Malaya removed November 2013  Missing history e.g. political impact of U-Boats  New ways of working o collaborative working e.g. Mozilla popcorn o cross referencing

15  On-line v not on-line  General searching v. searching within sites  Challenges of finding and using materials o Audio v. Video Video privileged (easier to find) e.g. Google video YouTube, Vimeo, blinkx Audio search engines Specialist (e.g. Sound effects; Podcasts; Music) Yahoo Audio Search defunct? Yahoo Audio Search  Open access v. copyright  Communities of interest (thought collectives) generating visibility and duplicating material and interpretation https://popcorn.webmaker.org/ https://popcorn.webmaker.org/

16  Epistemological o How does oral history on-line shape perceptions of the past? o Political: More history or No history?  Ethical o What is fair and unfair reuse? o How do we address inaccuracy and misrepresentation?  Curatorial o No-one can gate keep the web (not even David Cameron) o How to engage users in indexing? o Is crowd sourcing the answer? And ‘open access’ to what?

17  Digital oral history = Oral history without aim (yet again) and without end?  Understanding web thought collectives  The role of the archivist o Making connections or living in splendid isolation? Meta tag cross indexing? o Facilitating accuracy? o Providing historical context?  The role of micro studies as well as macro surveys


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