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Cootamundra oral historian

While recovering from a serious illness just over 14 years ago, local man Ken Loiterton realised that the stories and oral history his father and grandfather had handed down to him, could have been lost if he hadn’t survived.  As a result Ken set about collecting information, collating memorabilia and writing his recollections of those legends passed on from generation to generation. For full story click here.

Concentration camp liberators share stories

Texans who liberated European concentration camps are telling their stories in video interviews with Stephen Sloan, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University. The two-year project to produce audio and video recordings of Texans’ role is funded by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission. It educates citizens to increase understanding of the past and encourage individual responsibility for society’s actions. Interview transcripts will be given to public libraries in the liberators’ hometowns, the liberators’ families and to Holocaust museums in El Paso, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Sloan’s interviews are being recorded by videographer and Baylor graduate student Robert DeBoard.  DeBoard said recording the interviews “has been an amazing experience . . . This was a man who came running onto a beach at Normandy, like in Saving Private Ryan. You can’t imagine them having seen what they saw . . . When you hear them talking about it and remembering it really well, it’s something else entirely from reading about it.”  For full story, click here.

Imagining the City iPhone application (Brisbane)

‘Imagining the City’ is a location-based book of short stories set in inner city Brisbane, Australia. Once downloaded, users can locate each story in relation to where they are on the map and read the story in-situ. When in-situ, bonus material, including author’s notes, inspirational images and an audio recording of each of the stories read by the author, will be unlocked.  ‘Imagining the City’ was produced as part of an Australian Linkage Council Grant (LP0882274), ‘Respecting the Past and Imagining the Future: Using Narrative and New Media in Community Engagement and Urban Planning.’ Researchers at Queensland University of Technology’s Creative Industry Faculty invited writers to imaginatively respond to personas, or characters, developed in an earlier phase of research to help inform the design of inner-city apartments.   More information about the application is available here: http://itunes.apple.com/app/imagining-the-city/id475264436?mt=8

 The application is available for free download from the iTunes store. We encourage you to download the application and engage with these new and imaginative location-based representations of the city.

 If you have questions or comments, please contact either As. Prof. Helen Klaebe (h.klaebe@qut.edu.au.au) or Ariella Van Luyn (a1.vanluyn@qut.edu.au)

Lessons learned from nuclear waste war

Veterans of the nuclear waste wars are compiling oral histories to preserve recollections of the long and controversial repository battle with the federal government. One such “lessons learned” venture has gone live in Eureka County. It contains transcripts and video of interviews with two dozen residents, local and state officials, consultants and activists. The enterprise, including a number of on-line interviews, put together with about $50,000 in federal funds given to the county for Yucca Mountain activities, can be found here.

Steve Jobs interview – 1995

In April of 1995, Steve Jobs, then head of NeXT Computer, was interviewed by the Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation, producers of the Computerworld Honors Awards Program, as part of an Oral History project. The wide-ranging interview was conducted by Daniel Morrow, executive director of the awards program.  For the full story, transcript and audio, click here.

Blackbirding of South Sea Islanders

A delegation of people from Vanuatu has been visiting the Queensland capital, Brisbane, to re-establish relationships with their long lost blood relations, the descendants of the blackbirded South Sea Islanders from Vanuatu who were brought to work on Queensland’s sugar cane plantations more than a century ago. That was during the infamous blackbird trade from 1863 to 1904.  One of the Members of the Vanuatu parliament, David Abel said according to their oral history there were more than 39,000 brought to Queensland.  For full story click here.

Battleship New Jersey project (USA)

Tom Banit, history professor emeritus of Kean University, has interviewed hundreds of veterans whose lives have been touched by the battleship over its 68-year history. For more than a decade, Banit has recorded sailors who felt the awesome power of the Big J’s 16-inch guns, soldiers who witnessed the devastating results, and workers who built the New Jersey at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The interviews are being provided to U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.); his staff is copying DVDs and CDs, then sending them to the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, which is expected to make them available online in the coming months.  For full story click here.

Privacy Protections in Research – USA

American officials are planning to overhaul the rules that regulate research involving human subjects. But critics outside the biomedical arena warn that the proposed revisions may unintentionally create a more serious problem: sealing off vast collections of publicly available information from inspection, including census data, market research, oral histories and labor statistics.  The Oral History Association (USA warns that under the proposed revisions, for example, new revelations that Public Health Service doctors deliberately infected Guatemalan prisoners, soldiers and mental patients with syphilis in the 1940s might never have come to light. The abuses were uncovered by a historian who by chance came across notes in the archives of the University of Pittsburgh. That kind of undirected research could be forbidden under guidelines designed to prevent “data collected for one purpose” from being “used for a new purpose to which the subjects never consented,” said Linda Shopes, who helped draft the historians’ statement. The suggested changes, she said, “really threaten access to information in a democratic society.” For the full story, click here.

Oral History Key in Building New Nation – South Africa

High school pupils say the recent oral history conference was like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as it provided a healing process towards a balanced nation with shared values and norms.  The 8th national conference was held at Mmabatho Palms Hotel in Mafikeng from Tuesday to Friday last week with the aim of promoting and preserving the country’s oral history – with the view of capturing lost voices and muted identities, especially African experiences. For full story, click here.

Melbourne Holocaust Survivor Collecting Oral Histories

Age hasn’t stopped 89-year-old Holocaust survivor Phillip Maisel from becoming tech-savvy. Since he began voluntarily recording fellow survivors’ stories on video camera 20 years ago for the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Mr Maisel has had to overcome many technological difficulties to ensure they are retained for future generations.  See full story here.