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Edmon Low Library

Mary Larson

contributing author and co-editor of " Oral History and Digital Humanities: Voice, Access, and Engagement"

November 4, 2015

Mary Larson is the Associate Dean for Special Collections at the Oklahoma State University Library, where she joined the faculty in July 2009 as director of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program. She has been conducting oral histories for 25 years, having previously worked with the programs at two other land-grant institutions—the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Nevada, Reno. Larson is a past president of the Oral History Association and has also served on that organization’s Council as well as on the board of the Southwest Oral History Association and editor of the H-Oralhist listserv. Her research has centered on a range of topics, including evolving technology and ethical concerns in oral history, the utilization of new media formats for accessibility, and community and rural women’s history. Larson holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Brown University, where her focus was ethnohistory.

The world of oral history has changed over the last two decades, as technology has opened up a range of possibilities for presentation and preservation of material. The doors of the archives have been blown from their hinges, and "access" has come to have a completely different meaning, resulting in new expectations for access and engagement. This book examines the developments that have occurred in oral history since digital recording became practical. Over the years, the digital revolution has changed how oral historians conceptualize projects, how they deal with ethical issues, how they process their materials, how they think about sound and video, and how materials are made accessible, and this has placed oral history squarely in the middle of the conversation about digital humanities. Each chapter of this book covers a different groundbreaking oral history project from the perspective of the project's organizer, explaining why projects were developed in the first place, how the researchers solved problems they faced, and how the solutions evolved over time with advancing technologies. Most pertinently, they discuss how the problems that started them on their digital paths are being dealt with currently and what they see for the future of oral history.


Last Updated: 4 November 2015