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Oral History in the Digital Age

Over the course of the twentieth century, oral history, the gathering and recording of interviews and memories, was an essential ingredient of this democratization of scholarship. Oral histories provided vital evidence to allow scholars to move beyond the written records of elites and expand their focus to broader groups and to social and cultural history. The digital revolution has opened up dramatic new opportunities in this process. As it is easier than ever to capture the actual voices of people, the oral record is being preserved and made accessible to historians and the broader public at a scale previously unimaginable. Two scholars discuss this dynamic and examine its impact. Mark Lawrence Kornbluh is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of History at the University of Kentucky. The author of "Why America Stopped Voting: The Decline of Participatory Democracy and the Emergence of Modern American Politics," he is a modern American political historian. A pioneer in digital history, he served as co-founder and executive director of H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online and as the founding director of MATRIX: The Center of the Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences On-Line at Michigan State University. Doug Oard is a library educator and technologist at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he holds joint appointments as professor in the College of Information Studies (Maryland's iSchool) and in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). He is an unrepentant engineer, with three degrees (Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D.) in Electrical Engineering, but in other ways he is an academic (having, for example, recently served as associate dean for Research at Maryland's iSchool). For captions, transcript, and more information visit
Length: 01:21:29


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