Public History

Annotating Oral Histories

A considerable amount of historical content today is multimedia, including both audio and video files. Most of this content is interviews and this creates a significant problem for curators. There is a need to index this content to enable future researchers to be able to easily search and discover what is contained on these files. The solution is programs like the University of Kentucky’s Oral History Metada Synchronizer (OHMS). OHMS is an online tool for enhancing access to online oral histories created by the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries. Oral history involves audio or video recordings on time-based media. In order to be practical an indexing application has to provide the users a means to precisely identify the start and stop times of a segment.

OHMS was developed as an open source application. It is the next best thing for those not wanting to invest in speech recognition and artificial intelligence indexing services such as Microsoft’s Video Indexer. However, it’s layers of complexity and different levels of indexing are time consuming, For a large project it may make one reconsider paying for the service.

For my testing of the application I used an interview I had conducted with Steve Phan from the National Park Service.

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