Having played around with transcribing oral histories manually, I recognize that it can be a time consuming effort.  Using transcription tools like Transcribe or oTranscribe can enhance the process by slowing down playback when typing.  Both of these platforms, along with the Voice Typing feature in Google Docs, feature the ability to speak text instead of typing it.  Just listen to the audio and speak back what you hear.  The computer does a fairly adequate job of transcription this way; however, it does not work well when playing back the audio directly into the computer’s microphone.  It seems that a human intermediary is still necessary.

However, when all is said and done, the end result is still only a transcribed interview.  According to Doug Boyd of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the cost of transcribing and auditing an hour long interview can reach $200. To make the interview useful, it would still need to be processed to include an index correlating topics to time in the interview.  This is where OHMS helps to streamline this process by improving search functionality within the interview and does so more efficiently.

First, OHMS can quickly create an encoded transcript of an interviews so that the connection between a keyword and a time in the video are easily accessible.  OHMS also features a viewer so that the encoded transcript can be more easily manipulated on the front end.  Furthermore, OHMS can streamline the process of transcribing the interview by aiding in indexing content rather than fully transcribing it.  While transcription is still the goal for most oral history repositories, the high cost of generating a fully audited transcript can quickly drain resources.  OHMS makes indexing more efficient so that the cost for a graduate student to process an interview is around $30.

I would like to keep this tool in mind as an option for processing my father’s taped memoirs as a gift to my family if it is possible to use OHMS as an open source tool on my own at some point in the future.


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