Oral history interviews
Project members conduct oral histories throughout West Michigan, and on occasion beyond. We conduct nearly all of our interviews on video, since seeing the veteran tell his or her story adds an important dimension to the interview, and makes it more useful in classroom and public presentation settings than does audio alone. Some of our interviews are done in studio settings and are of suitable quality to be used in documentary projects. Most are done with simpler equipment that costs less and is easier to use, yet still creates videos suitable for archiving. Interviewers include university professors and students, community volunteers, and high school and middle school students whom we train through our schools program. All interviews are conducted following procedures established by the Library of Congress, and are archived both in the Digital Collections of the Grand Valley State University Library and in the Library of Congress.
We currently have over 1200 interviews in our collection, including many provided by area schools and partner organizations, and we are constantly adding more as the project continues to grow. At GVSU, we have an online digital archive www.gvsu.edu/vethistory managed by the university archivist where we post the interview videos, together with summaries, detailed outlines and/or transcripts of each interview, and any additional documents or pictures provided by the veterans. Over 650 interviews are currently posted, and we are adding more on a regular basis. Many of the interviews are also accessible in the GVSU collection on iTunes U. The videos are time coded, and the transcripts and outlines reference those time codes, making it possible for the viewer to go directly to specific points in each interview that they wish to view.