Using the Transcripts
The best way to learn all that is contained in an oral history transcript is to read it from beginning to end. Unlike books and articles that are organized around themes or chronology, oral histories often move back and forth through time and contain information about the same event in various parts of the transcript. Transcripts were lightly edited for readability. Name spellings, dates and other material were fact-checked. Then the transcripts were annotated to help readers understand specialized material, with explanatory references placed in brackets. Project participants were given the opportunity to review their transcripts and make corrections of fact. Most such corrections were minor. Due to editing, transcripts will not always exactly match audio. In cases when interviewees added explanatory passages, this material is bracketed. Each transcript begins with a table of contents describing major themes. When a transcript contains numbered photograph identification, the photographs and other scanned images can be found at the end of the interview. The digital collection was built using CONTENTdm digital collection management software. Each transcript was loaded as a single-item PDF with full text searching enabled.
In the transcripts, different fonts are used to indicate changes in speakers and voices. Interviewer and interviewee are identified the first time they speak. Thereafter, interviewer questions are in italics and interviewee text in Times New Roman. When an interviewee’s story-telling style uses direct quoting of others, Courier New font is used instead of quotation marks. This is because interviewees are usually relying on memory and may not exactly quote the people they are remembering.