Oral History Technology Updates

Technology and Preservation

oral history technologyWhile there have not been many updates lately, rest assured that I have not been idle.  After having a brief and some would say inevitable computer and hard drive mishap, I have been diligently working behind the scenes upgrading equipment and taking pro active steps to ensure that all project information and digital assets are properly organized, stored, backed up, and preserved.  Thankfully no project data was lost due to my redundant backup schemes.  However, since preservation is the chief responsibility and obligation of an oral historian, technology failure can be unnerving regardless.

My equipment upgrade and data reorganization was a massive undertaking to say the least as it involved the full transition from a Windows platform to Apple.  Given that I work with my video and audio files in Apple, the transition was an easy call to make.  Executing that transition was an entirely different story.  Moving all the data and taking the time to reorganize it as efficiently as possible took a lot of patience.

All of my hard drives had to be formatted to an Apple format which meant that the contents had to be copied over to another hard drive before formatting.  Once the formatting was complete, all the data had to be copied back to the newly formatted hard drive and from there backups could be made.  Since I changed the entire directory structure for all of my data during the reorganization so everything can be found in three clicks or less, I had to upload everything all over again to the cloud.  When you are uploading terabytes of information, that takes a very long time.

Now that I am done, this project is being run on a Mac Book Pro computer that is accessing an external 8 terabyte thunderbolt RAID hard drive with matching external 4 terabyte USB hard drives as backups together with a cloud backup configuration that utilizes both Dropbox and Google Drive.  I can finally breathe again and it is time to have some fun.  Let’s get that camera and audio recorder rolling…

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About Patrick Russell

Director and oral historian for the Making History Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Veteran stories for future generations. Resides in Miami, Florida, where he is a full-time mediator and has been a practicing lawyer since 1994. Proudly serves as a staff member for the University of Florida Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, in addition to being a member of the Oral History Association, American Historical Association; Friends and Family of the 508 P.I.R.; and the Battle of the Bulge Association. Graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in Political Science, and a law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. Additional courses and workshops for oral history and museum studies have been taken at Baylor University and Harvard University, Harvard Extension School. Contact info: (305) 608-2977 or patrick@making-history-project.com

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