BUIOH Summer 2015 Recap!

August 24, 2015

The summer of 2015 was a very productive season for BUIOH this year. Thanks to the hard work of a wonderful group of eight student workers and fruitful partnerships with entities outside the institute we were able to accomplish a great deal during what is normally a quiet, sleepy three months on campus. Here are some of the highlights:

• Interview processing was a well-oiled machine this summer with a good mix digital technicians, transcriptionists, and editors on hand to handle their respective duties. BUIOH accessioned 37 interviews, while a duo of furious typists, Angelica Short and Phoebe Lee, transcribed a whopping 55, allowing us to whittle away at our transcription backlog a bit. Of these, 21 made it through the initial editing process and 12 new transcripts were uploaded to our online collection. A current emphasis on preparing draft transcripts for upload should produce another wave of product, scheduled to hit the collection later this fall.
• Thanks to the Riley Digitization Center (specifically audio technician Stephen Bolech and grad assistant Travis Taylor) and BUIOH’s awesome new digital techs, Matthew Ching and Aaron Cassidy, our cassette digitization project was more productive over the past three months than ever before. A grand total of 537 interviews (contained on 834 tapes) were digitized, processed and preserved this summer! The overall project is currently on track to reach completion by the end of the year. The focus then will turn to our open-reel recording collection, which will be digitized thanks to a brand new piece of reel-to-reel equipment installed at the Riley this summer.
• With the successes of our digitization project and the concurrent efforts to create access-ready audio files of all digital materials, this summer saw the first major leap in online audio availability. Three students were trained in proper quality assurance methods and set about the task of matching available audio files to their transcript counterparts already available online. The results: a staggering 761 complete audio recordings uploaded over a three-month span, bringing our total aural online footprint to over 1100 interviews. A big thanks to the aforementioned digital techs and special projects GA Amanda Sawyer for this accomplishment!
• Work on adding new content to our Waco History project continued, with 20 new historical entries uploaded to the map. A sampling of these articles includes: Katy Park, the Praetorian Building, and the Waco Cotton Oil Mill, which some may recognize as the new downtown renovation/marketplace project of Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper fame! Our thanks to Prisca Bird and Amanda Sawyer in bringing our article total to 87 as we enter the project’s next phase, which will concentrate on integrating audio clips from BUIOH’s collection into the appropriate extant entries.
• Our 2015-16 Charlton Research Grant winner Joselyn Takacs travelled to Louisiana this summer and conducted a series of 17 interviews for her project Polluted Purifiers: An Oral History of Southeast Louisiana’s Oyster Farmers in the Wake of the Deepwater Horizon Environmental Disaster. Thanks to our new cloud-based accessioning policy, we were able to process and preserve all 17 within a matter of days and place them in our transcription queue, where they should enter our workflow early this fall.
• BUIOH was also active in spreading “the gospel of oral history” across our state and beyond this summer. Senior Editor and Collection Manager Steven Sielaff led a trio of instructional events in June and July: a presentation on oral history and memory for the Nicholas P. Sims Library in Waxahachie, TX, a workshop on oral history methodology for the Burleson County Historical Society in Caldwell, TX, and a workshop co-sponsored by the Texas Association of Museums entitled “Oral History for Museum Professionals” at the Mayborn Museum on Baylor’s campus, where University Researcher Jessica Roseberry joined him as a presenter. Sielaff and Director Stephen Sloan then attended a “Museums Marketplace” event on August 12th sponsored by the Museum Association of Waco to inform local educators and the general public on the resources available at BUIOH. Finally, in mid-August, the BUIOH staff conducted its 13th e-workshop, titled “Getting Started with Oral History.” To date, our online workshops have instructed 330 individuals in how to prepare for and conduct their own oral history projects. Since 2009, the participants of our online offerings have hailed from 12 foreign countries, 2 US territories, and 41 of the 50 states of the union (plus DC!).
• BUIOH continued to its mission to chronicle the history of Baylor University by conducting several interview series on topics ranging from the research sciences to athletics and student life. Of particular note was Jessica Roseberry’s interview with famed track and field coach Clyde Hart on the topic of his star pupil, Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson.
• Finally, interviews were not the only items we accessioned this summer. During the past three months we also acquired a new entryway partition for our suite, three new student work stations, a fresh batch of BUIOH flash drives, and a new line of BUIOH t-shirts!

Here’s to a wonderful summer session, and an equally wonderful fall to come!
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