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2 Freedom Summer Oral History and Library Curation Project Description of the project An important historical anniversary will be occurring next year, namely the 50th anniversary of the national Civil Rights m ovement campaign called Freedom Summer. Freedom Summer was a highly publicized campaign which brought approximately 1,000 young college students and other activists from other parts of the USA to the state of Mississippi, to register blacks to vote despite a history of violence and intimidation by authorities. This bloody and turbulent period of social unrest has been documented by the University of Florida Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP). SPOHP owns over 100 recorded interviews with Civil Right s Movement veterans in their archives. The Freedom Summer Oral History and Library Curation Project (FSP) seeks to make these interviews accessible to the public. Folded into the FSP are 14 interviews with activist Rosa Parks, concerning the Montgomery Bus boycott of 1955 and other events leading up to 1964. The Rosa Parks interviews are part of the James S. Haskins Collection, George A. Smathers Libraries. In partnership with staff and faculty members at SPOHP, the Freedom Summer Project team has determine d an overall project goal: To make these unique and hidden oral history primary resources available to UF scholars, students and beyond, in preparation for Freedom Summer commemorations scheduled for summer 2014. A secondary goal is to promote the collecti ons and thus enrich and support other planned activities and curriculum surrounding Freedom Summer. Objectives/Activities: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Why this project is important A multitude of opportunities exist within the Freedom Summer anniversary, to demonstrate how best practices for oral history collections can be curated, organized, and made more accessible, through the lens of a librarian. As stated on the SPOHP preserving the past through interviews with participants. At the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, we believe that oral history is an indispensable method of studying the past. Listening ca refully to first person narratives can change the way we understand history not to mention the way we approach scholarly sources on a variety of differe nt subjects ranging from experiences on the battlefields in World War II, to recordings of rare Native American ceremonies and song, are stored at the oral history facilities. The older oral histories reside on outmoded media, such as spools of wire, casse tte tapes and VHS tapes, while others
3 (CLAS) on hard drives at SPOHP and on other external storage media. The SPOHP staff is currently compiling a com prehensive inventory of the oral histories in their archives, and in the case of older media such as audiocassette s or VHS tapes, is taking information from the labels on the containers holding the media, or labels on the audio device itself. These labels are often brief in nature, communicating only the names of the interviewee and the person conducting the interview, as well as a date. For some interviews, there is more information recorded on permissions forms and intake documents, which allows for more potential metadata to be collected in this internal inventory of holdings. The inventory is currently accessible only by SPOHP staff, and researchers seeking oral history resources must work directly with staff to both identify relevant materials, then to gain access to materials. This is a wonderful opportunity for librarians and the George A. Smathers Libraries to offer accessibility by putting digitized interviews and related transcripts on publicly accessible servers, while assisting SPOHP in defining s trategies for organizing both the back files of oral histories and the intake of new oral histories. Historical background and need The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) has been collecting oral histories since establishment in 1967. SPOHP is viewed as one of the premier oral history programs in the country, and is considered as being s including the Southern Oral History Program, at UNC Chapel Hill, the UCLA Oral History Program, the Regional Oral Hi story Office at UC Berkeley, and the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University. SPOHP owns a rich archive of primary sources, including over 5,000 interviews past primarily on the acquisition and archiving of oral histories in a variety of formats, many of which are superseded. Interviews collected between 1967 and 2008 were stored as wire recordings, cassette audiotapes, and VHS tapes. As recording technolog y and the technical infrastructure has made the actual process of recording interviews easier (the program went digital in 2008), oral histories have been collected and stored as digital files, stored on a CLAS server and external drives in the SPOHP offic es. The focus on collecting has created a wonderful collection to explore, and a rising challenge to more effectively manage both the older interviews as well as the new interviews SPOHP continues to acquire. The Libraries and SPOHP have enjoyed a close working relationship for several years, with the UFDC offering storage space for some content, librarians serving as advisors on the SPOHP board and working in a reference capacity to support the programs and work of SPOHP. The small percentage of SPOHP content that is in the UFDC is discoverable to UF and making these valuable oral histories accessible. Some of the benefits that would be realized by a closer collaboration between the Libraries and SPOHP to make the Freedom Summer oral histories accessible are:
4 Similar projects in academic libraries It is challenging to compare this project with others at academic libraries, because curating and processing oral history collections in general is not happening because the infrastructure and foundational supports in terms of people, policies, and technologies are not yet in place. Some libraries have adopted or created oral history programs within academic libraries and are doing collection and processing in one stream (like USF). But for institutions with longstanding oral history programs lik management/curation support is not in place. Further, institutions lack developed systematic workflows within the institutional infrastructure. This is true for many reasons, including the silo type division of IRs and digi tal libraries where neither can support data or neither can properly support data of the complexity and variety found in the humanities. The content of the project is unique in the world for Freedom Summer. The recordings are of the poorest region of th e poorest state in the Union, and the great majority of t he people and activists of the C ivil R ights movement did not write mem oirs or store their private papers in university based research archives. Oral history interviews are often our only oppo rtunity to learn about how the Civil R ights movement was organized in rural America. Newspapers in the South were generally hostile to the movement, particularly in its early years; hence the perspectives of a nti Civil R ights movement leaders are much better prese rved in state archives. These oral histories are critical commentary to the Civil Rights movement and to Voter Rights, which we continue to see threatened even today. The Libraries and SPOHP are true partners for all aspects this project, which makes it a n extremely innovative endeavor. The Libraries have the existing infrastructure to integrate library collection development, data curation, and integration with research and teaching all as part of the data curation lifecycle, and this partnership takes ad vantage of that infrastructure (people, policies, and technologies) and extends it to meet technical needs to support the full data curation lifecycle. Resources needed The FSP team includes Paul Ortiz, Ph.D., SPOHP Director, who will advise on all aspects of the project, and Deborah Hendrix of SPOHP who will manage migration of digital files from SPOHP and metadata generation. Diana Dombrowski (SPOHP) will assist with training and supervision of students, while SPOHP Development Coordinator Sarah Blanc will assist with promotion and web development. Laurie Taylor, Digital Humanities Librarian, will advise on migration of data to UFDC, development of templates for metadata import and batch loads, web design and other technical iss ues. Shelley Arlen, U.S. and British History Librarian, will advise on historical context, liaison with history faculty and assist with promotional and instructional activities. Dan Reboussin, Africana Librarian, will consult on Google Optimization, crowd sourcing and embedding content into Wikipedia. Betsy Simpson, Chair of Cataloging and Metadata, will assist with curation of metadata. SPOHP will offer work space for student employees, and collaborate with the PI to train students. Plan of action Time Period Activity Responsible Party July Aug. 2013 Ronan, Dombrowski
5 Aug. Sept. 2013 Sept. 2013 Jan. 2014 Jan. May 2014 Collection ownership and copyright The oral history interviews are all property of SPOHP, and are located in the storage area at SPOHP, in Pugh Hall. SHOHP has the deed of gift for all of the interviews, so there are no copyright issues. Measuring success The FSP will be deemed a success with the accomplishment of the following outputs: Dissemination plan Because of the upcoming 50th anniversary, students, teachers, professors and interested citizens will be seeking more information about the history of summer 1964, and the context of the historical events. The digitized, accessible oral history interviews will be findable on the web through Intern et search engines such as Bing or Google, as well as represented in scholarly search engines such as Summon. UF faculty have committed to using the content in their courses (Sharon Austin, political science, Paul Ortiz, American History). The team will als o use Libraries publication channels to publicize the project, post notifications on the use of the content, and distribute news releases to local media. Google optimization will also be employed to embed FSP content within Wikipedia. SPOHP will produce podcasts featuring the interviews, and publicize the project on their website and their publicity efforts.
6 Financial implications Long term stora ge of digitized objects is the only financial implication for the future of this project. Equipment and supplies : None are requested Budget narrative Expense calculations The FSP requests $4,939.20 to hire three student OPS workers at the rate of $12.00 an hour ($139.20 of which is fringe benefits.) Laurie Taylor and Shelley Arlen will each contribute 1% of their time towards cost share, or a total of $1,420.13. Justification of expenses The FSP team plans to recruit existing SPOHP students to perform t he transcription and some compilation of students that are already invested in oral history production and curation will provide the FSP with consistenc y and continuity, while also making training easier for the PI. As indicated by the action plan, the PI will coordinate the FSP team, hire and supervise student employees, implement and maintain quality control, create workflows and templates for data intake, work with the team to produce promotional and curricular materials, and work the FSP into bibliographic instruction. Contributed cost share Laurie Taylor and Shelley Arlen will each contribute 1% of their time towards cost share, totaling $1,420.13. Dan Reboussin and Barbara Hood contributions are less than 1% each, therefore are not reflected in the cost share.