Is it all about the voice? The place of transcripts in oral history:
Best practice in Queensland calls for a full transcript whenever possible for deposit according to the State Library of Queensland. Coming in second is a timed summary. Of course, the voice is the primary source and will always be a fountain of so much that cannot be obtained from the printed word – OHAA- Queensland
The following is from a session on transcripts from the National OHA Biennial Conference, 23 September 2013
Tonia Eldridge – State Library of South Australia
Kevin Bradley – National Library of Australia
Tonia Eldridge – Thinking about transcripts can give you a monster headache. The State Library of South Australia has 6,700 recordings, 36% have been transcribed. Resources will depend on whether a recording is transcribed. It is a tiresome process. Other technology based alternatives. Better to shift focus. Make written material available i.e. timed summaries.
Kevin Bradley – Transcripts look the same until you listen to the recording. Impact of the voice, the living voice is the landscape and the transcript is merely the map. How should we set it out? This has been answered in the digital world. Recording is the primary resource. You can find what you are looking for with a transcript. Bring them together as a single thing. We should present the full record. Provide the audio and bring them together. For example – interview with Fred Chaney http://nla.gov.au/nla.oh-vn1737134
Sally Stephenson – Important to have transcript. Full transcripts with time codes are essential for editing multi-media productions. Put time code at the beginning of each question. Use program like Transana http://www.transana.org/ Use Word. Timed summaries don’t give sufficient detail of impression of interview style or quality. We don’t know what future uses will be. Transcripts must be done as soon as possible after an interview. They are then easier to review and correct any errors or omissions. Transcripts are more accurate. They are the best way of preserving as they improve the completeness and accuracy of the historical record. They can be used for written reports and books. They are the quickest way to review an interview for its relevance and possible suitability for a new use. Full transcripts maximise the use of the original recordings. They also ensure that the original audio or video recordings are heard and seen.
Karen George – sound recording is the primary source. Timed summary and transcript should also be used. Transcripts are essential to bring material together. Keyword search of the transcript is more effective and you can then find good quotes. We need to incorporate transcripts into our budgets. Use excerpts from sound recordings in an exhibition. People don’t have time to listen but transcripts can be searched and thus makes them more accessible. There is a danger that without transcripts, oral histories will not be listened to. See Web gateway in South Australia http://ohaa-sa.com.au/category/interviews/.
Summary by Suzanne Mulligan