As the semester is winding down, class oral histories and interviews are beginning to be submitted to College Archives so that the work of our students will be preserved for the long-term and accessible to the next generation of researchers.
Check out these great interviews from Dr. Miller’s class at Rollins College!
A few weeks ago I experimented with StoryCorps’ App for the first time and learned a lot about my friend and colleague, Sharon Williams, in the process. Sharon is the Acquisitions and Office Coordinator for the Cataloging and Systems Department at the Olin Library here at Rollins College. She is a free spirit and nature-lover who has worked in libraries for almost three decades. I was so happy to get to know Sharon better today, and grateful that she gave some of her time for this interview.
Listen to our interview here and download the StoryCorps App on your mobile device to try it out yourself! The [True] Stories team will be posting tutorials and tool reviews about the StoryCorps App sometime in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned!
In our Oral History Project I had to make an interview to someone that I consider that uses in a day-to-day basis the mayor listening skills while working. First I thought about interviewing the head manager of an important hotel back in Ecuador, but to be honest he is a really busy man so I decided not to and because of the logistics of arranging an interview with someone that is thousands of kilometers away I went to the option of interviewing the head manager of the current building I am living in. Luis is the head manager of the 55West building in downtown Orlando, he happens to be from my same country even from my same city. Given these facts we share, the interview was something really easy for me. Not only because I knew his type but because Latin American people tend to bond with each other better than other people from different ethnicities. Before I ask him to agree to have an interview with me I tried to know something about him, as we were chatting I started to ask him questions off the record about his job. It was here when I realized that he will be the perfect candidate for my assignment, not only because of his answers but also because everything he told me had to do with active listening and a lot of communication skills when dealing with someone. So later I ask him if he was confortable if I interview him for a college assignment I had and he was very open about the request so he agreed. I can say that it was the first time someone had ever ask him for an interview because he was really looking forward for it. I happen to see him almost every day when I walk in to the building and he asked me with joy when we where having the interview. One of the easiest things I encountered in my interview with my subject was that I already knew the person. Not only that, the person is from the same city I am, so we had a lot things in common like favorite national sports team, the passion for soccer and the hope to see our country out of poverty someday. As our interview was being done many of the questions I asked him had to do with active listening in his job, in all of the questions he replied that for him it was difficult at the beginning but later on he adapt to it and was able to give his better performance. One of the problems I faced in this interview was that while I was asking him these questions he tried to make a conversation of some other topic that wasn’t related with the interview at all, so I had to reset the interview and explain to him that I couldn’t talk about anything else that was not about the interview itself. He agreed to what I was saying, apologized and told me he felt confident talking to me about non related things because he felt he knew me and we could stand a conversation leaving aside my primary purpose which was to interview him.
We are happy to invite you to another [True] Stories speaker event:
Oral History, Copyright, and Beyond: A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Miller of Rollins College
Time: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:00am EST/ 9:00am CT
Rollins College’s Library Director, Dr. Jonathan Miller, will lead us in a conversation about copyright as well as other ethical and practical considerations involved with oral history work.
Dr. Miller earned his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 and wrote his dissertation on the role of librarians and libraries in the development of copyright law. His research and writing interests also include copyright history, open access publishing, and library management. In addition to his many publications, awards, and accomplishments, Dr. Miller is active in the Association of College & Research Libraries where he enjoys engaging in advocacy and government relations work. You can view Dr. Miller’s CV online here and a selection of his recent publications here.
Please join us and bring your questions! This event will also be recorded and an edited copy will be available afterwards on the [True] Stories website.
In a recording from just a few weeks back at the 27th Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Artsin Winter Park, Florida, Zora’s friends and relatives offer amazingly personal stories about the time they spent with the talented writer and folklorist who called Eatonville her home.
Sights, sounds, and smells play a critical part in their recollections as they recount what it was like to visit Hurston and her home. In one heartfelt comment, Mrs. Ella Johnson Dinkins (daughter of Hurston’s Eatonville friend, Addie G. Johnson), remembered Zora’s affection for her and the other children of Eatonville even after many years of notoriety and success – “Zora comforted us as children […] She came to us as a mother would, […] she would always cover us, [and] love us children, because that was just her way.”
This clip of Rollins grads, Jack and Priscilla Northrup (’49), is far from a complete oral history. However, it is a creative example of how primary sources from the archives can help tell the story of interviewees in a powerful way. In this case, historic photos, yearbooks, and an old report card become meaningful artifacts of unique experiences recalled by this lovable duo.
Have you thought about using materials from the archives as a tool in your own oral history work?
If so, what types of sources could help to tell the stories of your oral history subjects?
The [True] Stories project aims to support classroom-centered, multidisciplinary, and collaborative oral history curricula for undergraduates at three Liberal Arts Colleges (Rollins College, Davidson College, and Southwestern University). Check out our About page for more details on the project. Follow our project blog below to see how oral history is playing a role in teaching and learning at all three campuses.
See our Events Calendarfor upcoming True Stories webinars, speaker events, and grant documentation deadlines, as well as oral history training, conference, and publishing opportunities.
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