Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Letter in the Attic community archive

March 5, 2009

This message was posted by Jack Latimer to the Community Archives listserve.  Community archivists may be particularly interested by the cataloguing software that has been developed in this context.

The Letter in the Attic community archive is now online.

Letter in the Attic is a collection of over 780 letters and diaries and other personal papers related to Brighton and Hove. The papers were collected through an appeal to the general public in 2007-8.

The project was a partnership between local community heritage publishers QueenSpark and the East Sussex Record Office. It was funded and is used as a case-study in community heritage by the Heritage Lottery Fund. You can read an introduction to the project at

The catalogue, where you can view the letters and associated photos, is at

There’s an online exhibition of extracts from the collection at the My Brighton and Hove website at

There’s an article about the lessons learnt from the project at

The cataloguing software, developed by Ian Grant of CommunitySites, enabled a team of volunteers to produce an ISAD-G compliant catalogue which could be displayed attractively on the web, checked online by an archivist, and migrated easily to the East Sussex Record Office catalogue via EAD or Excel.  The software is now available through CommunitySites and is already being used by several other heritage projects.


New oral history software

December 8, 2008

(From This software may be of interest to community archivists, especially those who work with oral history:

The Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling is currently developing a new oral history database tool, entitled Stories Matter. This free, open source software is being built for oral historians by oral historians. It will allow for the archiving of digital video and audio materials, enabling oral historians to annotate, analyze, and evaluate materials in their collections. In addition to containing an offline version, the software will have an online version that will facilitate sharing and collaboration in the discipline. Both versions of Stories Matter will operate in English and French, and will have the capacity to support other languages at a later date. This software will be launched in early 2009.

While Stories Matter promises to change the ways that we think about and do oral history, it also offers a unique glimpse into the interdisciplinary process of creating digital technologies. The project team is directed by Dr. Steven High, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Public History, and it is being led by a computer programmer, Jacques Langlois. Two oral historians, Dr. Stacey Zembrzycki and Kristen O’Hare, are also embedded in the development process, consulting with High and Langlois on every aspect of the project. Those interested in this exciting project may monitor its progress, development, and implementation through its blog.

At this stage, we are soliciting feedback to ensure that Stories Matter will meet the needs of the widest possible audience; it must be relevant and user-friendly. We welcome any comments, suggestions, and questions that you may have; please feel free to forward this information to others who may also be interested in this project.


Steven High, Jacques Langlois, Kristen O’Hare, and Stacey Zembrzycki

*The Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling is housed at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This development project is being generously supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).