OHMS: Annotating Oral History

Accessibility is a key component of digital public history. The Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) is an exceptional tool that can be used to share oral history projects with online users. At the heart of the tool is the OHMS viewer, which allows users to watch/listen to video/audio of an interview, while simultaneously accessing a timestamped transcript and index (if made available by the uploader). The viewer also includes a search function.

Once an account is created with OHMS, uploading interviews and indexing them is simple. Under the “Interviews” page upon logging in, click on the “+New” button in the upper right hand corner. The “Metadata Editor” form will appear. Audio and video content can be uploaded through this screen. At the bare minimum, this form requires an interview title and media information about the interview. The form can be saved and edited at any time.

In order to index an uploaded interview, return to the “Interviews” page. To the right of the newly added interview, in the “Index” column, click the “Index” link. The “Tag Data” screen will appear. The interview should be embedded on the page, which makes it easy for users to index the project as they go. To add an annotation, click “Tag Now.” The timestamp field will auto-populate with the last time in the interview that was played (or a few seconds before) when the “Tag Now” button was clicked. Users can include information about the interview segment they would like to annotate. Once done editing, the tag is saved. Users can easily return to this screen to add and edit tags.

To export the interview in the OHMS viewer, return to the “Interviews” page and select the correct format under the “Export” column. To embed the interview in WordPress, first install the “OHMS Viewer” application, then upload the XML/CSV file into the OHMS Viewer cache. Below is an example of an oral history interview that has been indexed through OHMS.


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