Obama’s First Term

Four years ago, on the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, this magazine devoted nearly an entire issue to a photo essay, “Obama’s People.” The photographs, 52 of them, depicted a team arriving on a wave of hope despite inheriting an economy in trouble, a collapsing auto industry, two wars and a continuing terrorist threat.  For full story click here.

Vietnamese Americans’ oral histories

In a classroom at UC Irvine, Thuy Vo Dang teaches a course called "Vietnamese American Experience" that introduces young Vietnamese to oral history practice. For years, she has collected the personal stories of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants like her own parents, even as  she had a hard time speaking candidly with her own father.  “When it comes to private life and home space, that’s where we see the silences, and the ghostly haunting of the Vietnam War,” she explains. “If you think about refugee trauma and refugee experience—people have left everything behind and gone through really terrifying experiences in order to build a new life, a better life. And what that actually means is that the new home space that they create is really incompatible for these sorts of stories to emerge.”  For full story click here.

Report on Oral History Association Conference (USA)

A month ago, the Oral History Association hosted their 2012 annual conference, “Sing It Out, Shout It Out, Say It Out Loud: Giving Voice through Oral History” in Cleveland, Ohio. Through papers, performances, exhibits and roundtables, conference attendees examined “the ways many people express themselves within oral histories, and also the ways in which people craft existing oral histories into other means of expression.” Unsurprisingly, one topic that came up in both formal presentations and casual conversation was the field’s use of the latest tech. Below are two reports from conference by Jeff Corrigan and Melanie Morse that speak to technology’s increasingly importance to the collection and dissemination of oral history research (including QR Codes).  For full story click here

Hurricane Sandy interviews

When Hurricane Sandy came ashore, it fell to the city’s leaders and the thousands of workers at their command to secure our coasts, to rescue those trapped by water and without power, to help the city rebuild. The Observer spent Monday and Tuesday talking with New York’s top public officials about Hurricane Sandy. These are their experiences in their own words.  For full story click here

Retirement Village collects videos

When friends gather over a meal at Carleton-Willard Village, telling “war stories” isn’t just a figure of speech. A look around the table reflects a range of roles during World War II. One repaired battleships. Another flew for the Royal Air Force. Here sits a former Red Cross nurse; there a younger sister who saw her elder brother for the last time as he departed in uniform. The residents of this Bedford continuing care community, now in their 80s and 90s, were young men and women in the days of the war — yet memories of their experiences are as sharp as they were seven decades ago.  For full story, including video links, click here

New library for Docklands, Melbourne

According to Mr Ian Hicks, the Docklands Library and Community Centre will be a place for people to learn, participate and connect in a physical and a digital environment.  The facility will combine traditional elements of a library with modern technology and a range of community resources.  Mr Hicks said the Docklands Library and Community Centre would be focused on bringing the community together.  For full story click here

Czech’s memories of World War II

Czech and Slovak Americans remember food shortages, forced labor and the horrors of concentration camps as part of their homeland experience during World War II.  Oral histories recorded as a project for the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library will shine a spotlight on that history during a special Veteran’s Day event from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 11. Since 2009, the museum’s oral history project has captured the stories of Czechs and Slovaks who fled their homeland during the Cold War.  Now, they’re going back further into history and turning their focus to World War II.  For full story click here.