CLARIN OH-Workshops

This part of the website "Oral history and Technology" is dedicated to the workshops that were organised about the use of Human Language Technology in and for Oral History.

As a follow up of the first CLARIN workshop on Oral History (OH) archives in Oxford (April 2016), we applied for funding to prepare two additional workshops. The second workshop in November 2016 (Utrecht) was a meeting in which the proposing team prepared the third workshop. The third workshop was scheduled for March 2017 in Arezzo.

The two workshops applied for address the design and development of an (orthographic) transcription chain (T-Chain) specifically designed for OH interviews including Analogue-to-Digital-conversion, automatic speech-to-text modules, and crowdsourced transcription platforms. The outcome of the two workshops was an implementation plan for an OH transcription chain that can be integrated in the CLARIN infrastructure.

Cross disciplinary overtures in München

During the fourth workshop in München (2018) the scope was broadened to the subsequent phases of the research process: the annotation and analysis of the data. The presumption was that the multimodal character (text, sound and facial expression) and multidisciplinary potential of interview data (history, oral and written language, audio-visual communication) could be better exploited by bringing diverse approaches together and encouraging the uptake of digital tools. Anticipating that this diversity of participants and tools would made the organisation of the workshop complex, a careful design of the workshop was key to ensuring ‘satisfying experiences’ and countering ‘disorientation’. To this end the following principles were applied:

  1. gathering detailed information on the participants prior to the workshop to tailor the sessions to their level of digital savviness,
  2. collecting and preparing data that was familiar to the participants in both a common language (English) and in their native language,
  3. building on homework assignments to install and become familiar with a number of tools,
  4. Making sure that during the workshop a participant with advanced digital skills was represented in each of the language groups, and
  5. eliciting and recording feedback on use of the tools directly after the session exercises through group interviews.

Back to Utrecht: DH2019 workshop

When considering research processes that involve interview data, we observe a variety of scholarly approaches, that are typically not shared across disciplines. Scholars hold on to engrained research practices drawn from specific research paradigms and they seldom venture outside their comfort zone. The inability to ‘reach across’ methods and tools arises from tight disciplinary boundaries, where terminology and literature may not overlap, or from different priorities placed upon digital skills in research. We believe that offering accessible and customized information on how to appreciate and use technology can help to bridge these gaps.

The DH2019-workshop aims to break down some of these barriers by offering scholars who work with interview data the opportunity to apply, experiment and exchange tools and methods that have been developed in the realm of Digital Humanities.