With Rebecca Petersen May and Tanya Zanish-Belcher

Since 2013, Special Collections & Archives has collaborated with University individuals and groups to increase the number of oral history interviews available for anyone interested in the history of Wake Forest. We hope to fully capture the varied experiences of the Wake Forest community, in addition to helping with the following goals:

  • Document groups and individuals who have been traditionally underrepresented in our archives
  • Capture unique perspectives across the University community
  • Fully engage participants as part of Wake Forest history

Listen to some of the interviews now, with notable folks such as Dr. Barbee Oakes, Assistant Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, and Dr. Ken Zick, the longtime Vice President for Student Life.

A few WFU study abroad destinations

During this past academic year, Public Services archivist Rebecca May and I worked with colleagues in the Center for Global Programs and Studies, particularly Carrie O’Brien, to identify students, faculty, staff, and administrators who have traveled internationally to be on the Reynolda campus and/or studied or taught internationally during their time at Wake. In our time together, interviewees discussed their experiences abroad, expectations and realities, and their ideas about the future of global experiences for the Wake Forest community.

In order for these interviews to be fully accessible for folks with disabilities as well as improve their use for research, we like to provide full transcripts for oral histories or other audio and video materials in Special Collections & Archives. In addition to the benefits for the hearing or vision impaired, transcripts allow interested folks to skim and see if the interviewee mentions topics of interests. Last year, we began a trial run with Pop Up Archive; Pop Up Archive creates a time-stamped transcript that allows users to sync up audio and written words in one window, as seen here. Since our audio was collected using voice recorders, as opposed to fancy microphones, the transcripts required a lot of clean up. Students Natalie Cascario and Juno Zhu have been doing great work, with me and Google batting clean up. Some foreign names and places can be difficult to spell if you’ve never encountered them before!

Recently, Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections & Archives was featured in a newsletter from Pop Up Archive about our use of its program with our collections. Check it, and us, out!