|Accessioning involves keeping track of
collected materials by creating a master index. This can quickly become overwhelming if
not systematically planned, and kept up to date.
We label tapes in the field as recorded: name of interviewee, date of interview,
and number of cassette.
When tapes and data sheets are turned in , we assign an
accession number: sequential, or coded according to date, topic, informant and number of
tapes in session (e.g. 4/07-23--02)
We record the accession number on the tape cassette, on
data sheets, release forms, and in master index.
Efficient accessioning facilitates organization, quick
access, and retrieval. Otherwise, all you have is a useless mess.
Transcription: Transcription is the
process of taking the spoken word and putting it into written form. Oral History
information is useful only if accessible. Access to information musch easier in printed
form than on cassette, though tapes remain primary documents and valuable historical
objects in themselves.
But tanscription is also the most difficult, dreaded and
least enjoyed aspect of fieldwork. It is slow, painstaking work, requiring 4-10 hours for
each hour of tape., which may amount to as much as 40-50 pages.
If the tanscriber is not the interviewer, then the
interviewer should at least review tape and provide an outline of topics. If the entire
tape is not being transcribed, the interviewer should specify which parts to transcribe
verbatim, which to summarize, and which to merely index.
Oral histories add value and interest to conventional
historical research by putting flesh on the bones of fact. If done properly, oral
histories provide future generations of students and researchers with invaluable primary
resources of information that would have otherwise have been lost.