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Being A Digital Archivist: Metty ’19 at Oral History in the Liberal Arts in Yellow Springs, Ohio

For my second co-op, I am working at the Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA) as the Digital Archives Coordinator. OHLA is a collaboration of students and faculty that are part of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) who want to keep oral history alive and explore different interviewing techniques. Here are OHLA’s Mission Statement, and the faces behind the project.


The daily tasks of being a Digital Archives Coordinator vary from working on the back end of the OHLA WordPress  to making social media posts to OHLA’s Facebook and Twitter pages. In my first few weeks at OHLA, I have helped create project pages for Addison Nace’s Unravelling Traditions of Mayan Textiles in Chiapas, Mexico oral history project, expanded the current social media campaign, made a guide to OHMS, and created all of the posts for the Denison University oral history project: Literature and Professional Life: A Digital Life Stories Archive.

Besides working on the back end of the OHLA WordPress building pages, I also work on OHMS, the tool used by the OHLA team to archive, index and sync transcriptions to interviews. OHMS stands for Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, the site has private access to it only allowing those with accounts to use it. On OHMS I have helped fix and fill in missing metadata, exported the XML files used to display the interviews, and updated all of the interviews on the OHLA WordPress to make sure the interview metadata is correct. As part of my tasks I was asked to write a Metadata Entry Guide for OHMS that will be distributed to OHLA affiliated members for use in entering their interviews into the OHLA OHMS repository.

Not all of my days are spent just typing away in the basement of the Antioch College Olive Kettering Library by a window though, sometimes I have to hop onto Adobe Audition in the Arts and Science Building to clean up the interview audio before it can be made public. During my first few weeks on the job I edited and cleaned up 7 complete interview files that may be used in the Quilters S.O.S Save Our Stories Project.

OHLA as a whole is an amazing project with a beautiful goal to save stories for later generations and teach the current generation how to use interviewing to their advantage. With OHMS the interviews can be documented, transcribed and then uploaded to one place making the whole process of sharing projects faster and more streamlined than in the past. I can see OHLA going places in the future and I hope I can help move the project forward.

My interest in OHLA started during my first co-op, when I thought I would need to stay in Yellow Springs to take classes on campus during my second co-op. Even though those plans changed I decided to pursue the OHLA co-op because it combines disciplines I am interested in, mainly History and the Media Arts. By the end of my co-op with OHLA I hope to have refined my skills with WordPress, audio editing, and expanded my knowledge of the interviewing process to use later on in life.



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Emma is part of the class of 2019 at Antioch College, her major is a self design titled Culture as a Historical Process that combines elements from traditional History and Anthropology degrees into one. She has a love a photography and capturing life in moments.

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