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Nov 1 | Accelerating Change: Oral History, Innovation, and Impact

  • Columbia University New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

When: Thursday, November 21, 2018, 6:10-7:30 pm

Where:  606 West 115th Street, Kraft Center room 5A/B, Columbia University


Oral history is experiencing an explosive phase of growth around the world.  Beyond the interview, digital technologies are creating access points to archived oral histories that were once unimaginable.  Free and open source technologies such as OHMS can synchronize textual searches of small and large-scale oral history interviews and collections to the corresponding moment in the recorded audio or video, which creates revolutionary possibilities and potential for a single oral history interview to impact the historical record significantly.  Archives that previously noted hundreds of annual uses of their oral history interviews are now experiencing several hundred thousand online uses each year.  This dramatic increase in scale has had a notable impact on the usage of extant oral history interviews and collections, but it also raises questions pertaining to individual privacy and the ethics of access. 

In this workshop, Doug Boyd will focus on the impact of innovative technologies on the practice and the purpose of oral history. In addition to focusing on oral history and access, Boyd will reflect on the emergence of technologies including 360-degree, automatic speech recognition, and the role of artificial intelligence in the archive, as well as reflect on the changing role of the oral history archive itself. 


Doug Boyd Ph.D. serves as the Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries and is a recent president of the Oral History Association.     Boyd manages the Oral History in the Digital Age collaborative initiative publishing current best practices and models for collecting, curating and disseminating oral histories.  Additionally, Boyd leads the team at the University of Kentucky that envisioned, designed and implemented the open source and free OHMS system, which synchronizes text with audio and video online. Recently, Boyd created the open source digital transfer tool Exactly for safely transferring born-digital archival material to an archive.

Boyd is the co-editor (with Mary A. Larson) of the book Oral History and Digital Humanities: Voice, Access, and Engagement published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2014, and he is the author of the book Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community which was published in August 2011 by the University Press of Kentucky.  He authors the blog Digital Omnium: Oral History, Archives, and Digital Technology and is the author of numerous articles pertaining to oral history, archives and digital technologies.

In addition to writing, Boyd co-hosts and co-produces The Wisdom Project podcast co-hosts the Saving Stories radio program and podcast on Lexington’s NPR station WUKY and he recently served as Executive Producer on the documentaries Kentucky Bourbon Tales: Distilling the Family Business and Quest for the Perfect Bourbon.  

Previously, Doug Boyd managed the Digital Program for the University of Alabama Libraries, served as the Director of the Kentucky Oral History Commission, and prior to that worked as the Senior Archivist for the oral history collection at the Kentucky Historical Society.   Doug Boyd received his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Folklore from Indiana University and his B.A. degree in History from Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

 Watch here!

Blog posts by current OHMA students about this event:

The Power of Digital Oral History: From Silence to Democratization

The Synchronizer and the Sexatron

GDPR and the future of OHMS: A Scottish Perspective

Wikimedia to the Rescue? How Wikipedia’s Crowdsourcing Model Could Catalyze the Field of Oral History.

Earlier Event: October 25
Oct 25 | OHMA Fall Open House
Later Event: November 29
Nov 29 | Words Transmitted; Worlds Apart