The conference aims to bring together scholars involved in the creation of digital oral history sources, for both research and archival purposes, with the intent to discuss the potential use and impact of digitized narratives related to war and trauma, across disciplinary and national boundaries. Because of the specific regional context in which the “Croatian Memories” project has been conducted, part of the programme will focus on the role and use of oral history in the former Yugoslavia. Another strong focus will be on new insights with regard to the challenges of creating and opening up digital oral history archives in the digital era.
We solicit paper proposals in the form of abstracts, with the intent to publish a selection of full papers in a specialized journal after the conference.
Papers are supposed to present original research on one or more of the following themes:
1. Computer Science and Information Science
The multidisciplinary environment in which ICT researchers design platforms and provide technological support for digital oral history collections, can pose challenges in communicating with actors that have a different relationship with the material. The question to be addressed is how these differences can be overcome. How can technology evolve and at the same time connect to existing research practices?
How to cope with tensions between the demand for a manageable and affordable collection, and the academic challenge of applying innovative techniques such as speech and image retrieval? How to deal with diverging mindsets related to issues of transcribing and translating? Another central issue is the variation in the design of search and access environments for public, academic and educational uses of the collections.
2. Archival Studies and Library Studies
The digital revolution poses great challenges on how the access to archives is arranged, in particular when dealing with personal narratives that are published online in post-conflict societies. There are various ethical questions with regard to ownership, privacy, consent and the consequences of speaking out. An equally important issue is the balance between investing in the creation of archives and in its future users. Questions to be addressed are: How do archivists deal with sensitive data? Are there mechanisms to monitor the use of collections? Who gets access and who does not? Who uses these archives and in what ways? Has the policy with regard to privacy and informed consent undergone major changes in the past decades?
3. Social Studies and the Humanities (SSH)
The “digital turn” has led to an explosion of digital testimonies on war, trauma and human rights abuses. The impact of this abundance of personal testimonies on the academic community is not fully clear yet. What is the general appraisal of these type of sources? Are these digitized collections actually being used by scholars or do they primarily base their findings on their own sources? If they have found their way into the archives, how do they use these sources? Do they consider depositing their own data? Is there an explanation for the distinct oral history tradition of the Anglo-Saxon academic world, and the European approach? Another important question is whether the multidisciplinary potential of these collections is fully appreciated. If yes, in what way? If no, how can this be facilitated by digital technology?