Public Digital History Project: Progress Report 2

My project aims to help alumni and community members connect to the Stockton University of the Pacific campus by telling place-based stories about the university’s monuments and memorials.

This week, I conducted an oral history interview with Victor Ornelas (1970), former regent of the University of the Pacific. When Ornelas was a student at UOP, he was involved in the civil rights protests at Burns Tower. His interview offers insights into the campus environment in the 1960s and early 1970s, the motivations for the protest, and the faculty and administrative responses.

Victor Ornelas, High School Yearbook Photo, 1966.

Although we had planned to meet in person, we ended up meeting via Zoom. The upshot of this is that Zoom has excellent features for conducting oral history interviews. Notably, the University Archives at UOP is actually now using Zoom to conduct oral history interviews. The Library is working on a project to interview alumni from Raymond College, Pacific’s first of three residential cluster colleges, an educational experiment that emphasized rigor, self-designed programs, and intellectual interaction. These are all being done with Zoom. The reasons are as follows: 1) Zoom allows people who live far away from each other to participate in oral history interviews; 2) Zoom records the audio and video of the interview, which can be downloaded and edited for use in public history projects; 3) Zoom creates a transcript with a timestamp.

My next steps include 1) correcting the interview transcript (Zoom creates a transcript but it includes many errors); 2) indexing the themes of the interview; 3) editing the interview for portions that are going to go on my Omeka exhibit; 4) uploading the interview and the correct section of the transcript to Omeka.

Next week I plan to begin building the Burns Tower exhibit on Omeka.

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