Creating Workflows for Oral History Transcription and Curation: A Case Study Involving Oral Histories in Satellite Meteorology

Aaron Gregg, Jinny Nathans, Jean M. Phillips, Sophie Mankins, Katherine Johnson


This article presents a case study of the transcription and curation of a set of oral histories conducted by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in collaboration with the Schwerdtfeger Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center. The oral histories will become part of the AMS Oral History Project and the Schwerdtfeger Library’s Digital Collections. Oral history interviews were conducted with prominent figures in satellite meteorology at the AMS Joint Satellite Conference in Boston, Massachusetts in 2019. These interviews invited leading remote sensing scientists to share perspectives on their careers, the innovations in and evolution of satellite capabilities and intersections with their careers, as well as future directions of the field. They elaborated at length on subjective details of their lives and work that might otherwise not have been captured in scholarly literature or in other locations. Interview transcripts were processed to conform to the Smithsonian’s Oral History Program Style Guide and were archived according to the Oral History Association’s Manual of Best Practices for Archiving. This paper seeks to examine the processes involved in transcribing and preparing files for curation as a case study for other institutions considering similar projects in the sciences.

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