I am Senior Editor and Collection Manager of the Baylor University Institute for Oral History (BUIOH). This position means I oversee the processing of all interviews, both legacy and incoming. We are a full transcription shop, so produced materials for our online database include audio mp3s and transcript PDFs. There are currently over 300 unique projects encompassing over 7000 interviews in our collection
Mission and Nature of Collections
The BUIOH archive consists of twelve major collections, however it is primarily a regional archive, with over 1000 interviews in each of the following collections: Waco/McLennan County History, Baylor University History, & Texas Baptist History. Around 10% of our interviews are what we deem “Special,” which can include any number of projects that do not fit in our regional categories. Many of these projects come from our grant programs, specifically our faculty fellowships, which have been in place since 1971.The majority of the 150-200 new oral history interviews we accession per year are now produced by partners, meaning that the topics and needs associated with each project can vary widely.
Staffing Limitations and Strengths
BUIOH has five full-time staff and employs an average of eight students during the academic semesters, with almost double that number working during the summer when the bulk of our transcription/editing takes place. Students create transcripts and summaries, which are then evaluated by staff and the interview participants before materials are placed online. Our online database is powered by Quartex, and our interviews are assigned metadata based on Dublin Core. Either a processing tech student or staff member will create the access materials and metadata records needed for upload. Most of this information is gathered from the FileMaker Pro record created at interview accession, which itself is based on the initial Interview Data Form submitted by the interviewer. Our largest limitation in our process is the time required to transcribe and edit interviews. Currently we plan to batch upload any new interviews that have completed the transcription, editing, and review process monthly.
Researcher Characteristics and Needs
Our researchers are primarily local/Baylor historians, journalists, or content producers such as documentarians. Our religious collections draw the most interest nationally, as do some of our “Special” or “Arts & Culture” projects. As most of our materials are available online (4000+ interviews) and all of our transcripts are text-searchable, researchers can typically find what we are able to provide, and mainly only ask questions regarding attribution or procurement of media. Several of our metadata fields (such as Interviewee/er Name, Collection Name, and Project Name) are specific to our digital collection, yet exist as searchable fields in the “advanced search” option for the entire Baylor digital collection platform. We rarely receive in-person visitors, and do not have a formal “reading room” in our offices.
Our internal processing database, powered by FileMaker Pro, can track restrictions both past and present. Only transcripts that are fully released make it to the online database. Sometimes redactions are requested as part of the transcript review process, and if these are limited both the transcript and media are adjusted accordingly. Since we began our analog digitization project, any interview that had restrictions in the past does not have the corresponding audio file uploaded online. After digitization is complete, we will undertake a project to review these former restrictions and determine if there is any cause to hold or edit the full audio file before it joins the edited transcript online.
Size of Institution’s Oral History Collection
Percentage of Institution’s Collections that are Oral Histories
Type of Institution