Following the elections at the business meeting in Sydney, Australia, we have begun our new terms–Pilar Domínguez as vice president, Don Ritchie as a member of the council–and will continue as editors. Building on our last two years of experience, we hope to expand and improve the IOHA newsletter, with an even greater diversity of reports from around the world. To meet this goal, we depend upon all IOHA members.
The variety of oral history projects discussed in Sydney was truly impressive, and amply demonstrated the vitality of oral history methodology. From large, well-funded institutional projects to small, self-supported individual efforts, people are recording and preserving a greater variety of oral testimony than ever before, and presenting it in highly creative forms. Some projects have sought to cut through the fog of memory to recover stories long suppressed or ignored, while others have tried to capture experiences almost immediately after they occurred, especially in the wake of a natural disaster or a political upheaval. Oral history projects have given voice to those left out of the official archives, let victims speak out, and confronted conventional wisdom. Oral history has celebrated human achievement and endurance. Those we interview give us a view of the past that is both clearer and more complex. These are issues that we hope the newsletter will fully reflect.
Oral historians have also been caught up in the technological turmoil of the digital electronic revolution. Reliable equipment becomes obsolete, new devices appear in rapid succession, and questions arise over the long-term preservation of the digital recordings. Digital equipment not only replaces the old tape recorder but opens vast new possibilities for showcasing and disseminating the interviews we conduct and collect. This makes it all the more necessary that we keep current with technological developments. Please let us know your concerns, the types of information you seek, and the types of projects you conduct. We look forward to including your reports in future issues.
Don Ritchie (English text) -
Co-editors, IOHA News