My work in record keeping led to my involvement in the OHLA (Oral History and the Liberal Arts), a project headed by Dr. Brooke Bryan, which catalogs and keeps interviews conducted by both students and faculty alike – to give a basic explanation. It has cataloged and stored dozens of interviews and logged quite a few hours of video and audio. The page also offers trainings as well as resources to learn and teach. In support of their support, the site showcases the digital projects from the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Global Liberal Arts Alliance. I can explain no better then your eyes can see, so please go visit the extensive library at https://ohla.info/.
There you can also see my handy work, as I was charged with the task of strategically auditing the issues of the site. You see, when a database has logged that much information, it is bound to have racked up some years in the process. Some of the interview videos did not play, transcripts were formatted wrong or missing, and links did not match up to where they said they’d go.
Each of these issues had a method of solving that I had to work closely with Dr. Bryan to find and apply. The work day was usually spent tackling the issues at hand, but seeing them get changed to functional in the audit was very reassuring. When I saw the site fixed and the interviews functioning I was very proud of my help in making sure the stories of the individuals in the interviews could be shared with the world clearly and legibly.
It is a mission of Dr. Bryan and her associates to preserve and log these interviews, the chunks of life people are willing to share and contemplate, the projects and frontiers that they are pioneering for the betterment of the common individual. These things remain intact, but the frame work they are told through degrades, becomes outdated, breaks, and I’m glad that I was able to maintain and upkeep the grand lives that they lead. Work like this gives me a new perspective and refreshes my interest in my field of Linguistic Anthropology and the deep ties of language and individual, so please enjoy my work and more at the OHLA site! Engage, learn, and grow with that great community of researchers!
My name is Saul Martinez and I work in McGregor Hall on the second floor in the Office of the Registrars. We assure that all documents are accounted for and stored in an orderly fashion in our cabinets. When I’m not dropping off transcript requests in the mailroom or maintaining the organization of our filing cabinets, I am usually working on digitizing our old student narrative evaluations, my work starting from where the previous assistant left off. Because a digital database for student information is being built, transferring paper files into the digital world by scanning and copying them onto an electronic document takes priority and occupies the majority of my time in the office. Though, with thirty or more hours of work a week, I’ve been making good headway on the extensive backlog.
And it’s a good thing too, as the digitization project assures the longevity of past records and the history of students at Antioch College, as well as the college itself. As I am bound by certain legalities, I can not go into detail about the evaluations themselves but, as you can imagine, keeping a tidy record of student performance and attendance is of critical importance. This unseen work allows students access to their information, transcripts, and records in our office, kept neatly organized for them should they have any need for their documentation.
It certainly can be dull and rhythmic work but it is not only essential for the continuing function of the college’s student registration program—it is also a personal learning experience for me. As a projected anthropology major, I expect the majority of my future work will include record keeping and documentation. And, while I’ve had other jobs that focused on just that, they’ve never been as involved as this one, nor have I had an entire project I was in charge of handling. The work is quiet, tireless, and virtually neverending— there is always something to do or story away—but, at the end of the day, there is simple pride in it, knowing that you’re preserving history and stories so that they may live on in posterity and usefulness.