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oral histories of the American South

"Oral Histories of the American South" has benefited from the talents of many contributors from a variety of disciplines. The idea for the collection originated with the editorial board of Documenting the American South (DocSouth). For the pilot phase of the project, the University of North Carolina Library provided funding to develop a prototype. In September of 2005, the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded a grant to DocSouth to continue the work done during the pilot phase and expand the collection to over 500 oral history interviews over the course of three years.

William R. Ferris, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, and Harry L. Watson served as the project's scholarly advisors. Natalia (Natasha) Smith, Head of the DocSouth digital publishing program, served as the principal investigator and oversaw the administration of the IMLS grant. Joshua Berkov managed the day-to-day tasks of the project and oversaw the project's publishing process. Cliff Dyer maintained the project's database, wrote programs for processing and automation, and contributed to site design. Mike Millner provided editorial assistance with the site content. Jennifer Joyner and Kristin Shaffer, graduate student assistants from UNC's School of Information and Library Science, worked on transcript encoding, interview processing and time-stamping.

The DocSouth staff worked in close collaboration with colleagues at the Southern Oral History Program (SOHP). Joe Mosnier, Associate Director of the SOHP, with the assistance of Seth Kotch, wrote the introductory materials for the topic areas. Dr. Mosnier, along with Robin Payne, was also responsible for the task of selecting 500 representative interviews from a collection that numbers over 4,000. With the additional help of Kim Hill, Dwana Waugh, and Rachel Martin, they provided detailed analysis of each interview. SOHP also created a controlled vocabulary that is used for the tailored description of interview excerpts.

At the Southern Folklife Collection, Steve Weiss and Aaron Smithers gave new life to the original analog recordings by restoring aging and sometimes damaged cassette tapes for conversion to digital formats. Steve and Aaron, using the best available hardware, software, and their own considerable expertise, produced digital audio files of the highest possible quality for the project. They did so while adhering to international standards and best practices for the creation and preservation of digital audio content.

Kim Vassiliadis and Lisa Norberg, from Library Instructional Services, assisted with testing and consulted with the project team on issues of usability. Kim and Lisa also worked with Carrie Bertling to create reusable learning objects and other educational materials. Cheryl Mason Bolick, an assistant professor from the UNC's School of Education, advised project participants on educational uses for the project's content. Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, Kristin Martin, and Meghan Fitzgerald cataloged this collection. Catalog records are available in OCLC's WorldCat. At the Southern Historical Collection in the Manuscripts Department at the Wilson Library, Jackie Dean, Lynn Holdzkom, and Angela McClendon accessioned interviews, performed quality control checks, and provided cataloging support.

Individuals who worked in various capacities at earlier stages in the project's development include Dongqing Xie, Elizabeth McAulay, Sayan Chakraborty, Kristin Post, David Kline, Aidan Smith, Dayna Durbin, Adrienne MacKay, and Todd Cooper.

We wish to thank the individuals and organizations who collaborated with us to make this digital collection possible.