It’s All about the Story: Oral History Podcasting with Limited Equipment and Open Source Software

Written by Julie Maresco, graduate assistant

Today’s Digital Humanities Seminar “It’s All about the Story: Oral History Podcasting with Limited Equipment and Open Source Software,”  was led by Albert Gore Research Center Director Dr. Louis Kyriakoudes. It was hosted by the James E. Walker Library and the Association of Graduate Student in History at MTSU.

For Dr. Kyriakoudes, the best topics for oral history podcasts include stories about: Veterans, Civil Rights, Black history, Women’s history, and local history. He emphasizes finding a story that captures human emotion and a personal connection to the past. He mentions how some oral histories do not work for podcasts because the story is told in third person, sounds monotone, detached, or the person lists events instead of recalling them from a personal perspective.

Dr. Kyriakoudes played examples of clips and showed scripts from Mississippi Moments, the weekly oral history radio program he produced at the Oral History and Cultural Heritage center in Mississippi. He also brought up some from Veterans Voices: Stories of Service featuring oral histories from the Albert Gore Research Center for the audience to listen to.

podcast session 2

There are several programs that can be used to create podcasts. Dr. Kyriakoudes demonstrated how the open source software Audacity worked and could be useful in creating podcasts. He also introduced Libsyn, which is not free, but is an excellent program. He suggests the best types of recorders for recording podcast narration or even conducting interviews are ZoonH2n, Marantz, TascamDR100, and SONY PCM.

There are many possibilities for sharing podcasts and making them accessible to the public. The Albert Gore Research Center uses SoundCloud and shares the link on its Twitter, WordPress, and Facebook in mp3 format.

Dr. Kyriakoudes ended the talk with answering questions from the audience and also delivering his personal belief that the interviewee is the most important component of oral history. He disagrees with the concept of “Shared Authority” because the person telling the story should have the ultimate authority in the oral history. He played a powerful clip of an interview he did with a WWII veteran who talked about his experience in the Pacific and gave an emotional recollection about the atomic bomb.

podcast session 1

To listen to some of our oral history interviews, please visit the Albert Gore Research Center in person or on our website: http://gorecenter.mtsu.edu/research/MTOralHistory.shtml

To hear the AGRC podcasts, please visit our SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/agrc-396809182

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