Oral History Today

How to search Oral History collections?

OHT-logoOral History provides a specific type of data to be explored. Unlike general audiovisual collections as researched in AXES, Oral History collections contain interviews with people who experienced a certain historical event. For example, the collection for the Interview Project Dutch Veterans contains 1,000 interviews with Dutch veterans who’ve served in wars ranging from the Second World War to the war in Afghanistan. Such interviews can be analysed by historians to learn not only what an event meant on a macro level, but how it was experienced by the people undergoing these events.

Oral History collections as these provide an interesting perspective for research, as the collections are sizable, have a clear theme, usually decent metadata, and sometimes transcripts of the full interview. Researchers can use these interviews to pick fragments to provide quotes as illustration to a point, or can search to analyse how different people perceived an event; do men and women talk differently about it, what did it this event mean for common people?

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CLARIAH – Building tools for structured, textual and audio-visual data

On Tuesday March 11th, the CLARIAH project organized a kick-off meeting at the Meerten’s Institute in Amsterdam to present the five chosen projects.

CLARIAH is a contamination of DARIAH and CLARIN, combining the goals of the two projects. Although CLARIAH did not receive the funding it requested, it did receive a million euros of ‘seed capital‘ to keep the proposal going and build a showcase of why CLARIAH is of importance. To achieve this, five projects will build demonstrators to showcase the aims of CLARIAH, as well as show the technological possibilities pursued. Although the presentations were short, filled with acronyms and the projects are still in their infancy, I’ll try to write a short summary of what the projects were about.

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Oproep geestes- en sociale wetenschappers voor gebruikersevaluatie PoliMedia

As this call for humanities and social sciences scholars to participate in an usability study is aimed at scholars in the Netherlands, this call is published in Dutch.

Hoe gebruiken geestes- en sociale wetenschappers zoekmachines in hun onderzoek? Dat is een vraag die wij (ESHCC, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam) stellen in onze onderzoeksprojecten waarin wij zoekmachines ontwikkelen voor deze geestes- en sociale wetenschappers. Projecten hierbij zijn zoekmachines voor onderzoek naar politiek en media (PoliMedia project) en onderzoek in audiovisuele archieven (AXES project).

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PoliMedia symposium: linking political debates and media

On Wednesday January 23rd, the PoliMedia project team organized the symposium ‘Linking political debates and media. In this symposium the project team presented their current research, and invited two speakers also doing computational research on political and news-media data.

The afternoon was opened by chair Laura Hollink (VUA), who asked for a show of hands. Both the humanities and computer sciences were well represented, mirroring the crossroads of political analysis by computational means.

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Developing a new search system – PoliMedia progress

On Wednesday November 28th, the PoliMedia project team gathered to discuss our progress and decide about the future directions of the project. Each partner presented their achievements of the past 6 months, which is the first half of the project-timespan. An interface designer was invited to lead discussion about the interface and to develop wireframes.

The aim of PoliMedia is to enable analysis of media coverage of political debates, by linking the debates in parliament (Dutch Hansard) with newspapers (National Library), radio bulletins (National Library) and television programmes (Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision).

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AXES update: Who are our users?

In our online surveys amongst potential users of the AXES prototypes, a total of 1633 people responded to questions regarding their usage of online search engines and audio-visual databases.

With these surveys, we found that in general, users below the age of 45 are more confident than older users. Moreover, we found that for researchers, academics and journalists alike, searching material online usually means “Googling it”.

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