Oral History Project Update

This morning, almost at opening, a volunteer came in to get more oral history interview CDs. She asked for about five CDs this time, as it didn’t her long to get the first one done.

Since all our interviews are accessible only on CD and the contents known only to the interviewer and the interviewee, listening to the hundreds of interviews we’ve amassed during this 30-year-plus project is a daunting task. Plus, we’re still adding interviews to the mix.

In the summer of 2004, we put out an ad for transciption volunteers in the local newspapers. Luckily, our two local papers, the Tri-City News and the Now, are extremely supportive and have aired our ads for over a year now. This has brought us a number of volunteers to take on the time-consuming and difficult job of writing down every single word on the CDs.

We’re extremely grateful to these volunteers who are laying down the foundation of future Port Moody Station Museum projects. Already, we’re matching oral history interviews to topics on the internment of the Japanese during WWII with a display on the Japanese presence in early Port Moody.

However, not every volunteer who comes to us has the stomach for transcribing. So when this morning’s volunteer approached us for such a position, we suggested that she listen to the interviews and provide us with topical notes on what took place during the interview.

For example, with our new notes on her completed CD, we know about a “Port Moody hospital” that burned down on Clarke Street. With these notes, future researchers will be one step closer to finding that information.

We also have another great new volunteer who has done follow-up research on another interview and will meet one more time with the interviewee to flesh out the previous interview and nail down some dates.

Plus, the darned oral history transcription database needs tweaking. That’s not so exciting but it needs to be done. *Sigh*

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