Together We Listen: Generating Accessible Oral Histories of NYC through Community Participatory Projects

CORDES, Kate (2016) Together We Listen: Generating Accessible Oral Histories of NYC through Community Participatory Projects. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session 108 - Genealogy and Local History with Asia and Oceania.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1416
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Together We Listen: Generating Accessible Oral Histories of NYC through Community Participatory Projects

In late 2013, the New York Public Library launched an oral history project designed to capture neighborhood histories, generate programming opportunities for local communities, and create an accessible archive of oral histories. Through the Community Oral History Project, the library trains volunteer interviewers and pairs them with neighborhood residents who share their stories and experiences of the local area’s distant and near pasts. These interviews capture a tales of an ever-changing New York, forming a unique oral history archive of first person accounts of life in the city from the mid 20th century to the present. The interviews will form an important part of the research library’s local history collection; they are currently archived in the library’s digital repository, and are accessible through a dedicated portal. Via a collaborative, grant-funded project, the library has created a crowdsourced transcription verification tool that will allow us to further plumb the riches of the interviews, and to generate more use and interest in this expanding collection of oral histories. Programming, transcription tools, and all aspects of the oral history project are shared through social media platforms and blogs, generating interest and spreading the news in both structured and organic means, all of which have been quite successful in sustaining interest and increasing participation in the ongoing project and in the archive of stories.

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