Sean Stanley: My Experience with the Oral History Metadata Synthesizer (OHMS)

This is my first experience working with the Oral History Metadata Synthesizer and so far I am very impressed with what a great tool it is for both archivists and researchers alike. I studied history in college and have some experience with metadata and archiving programs, but had no experience with OHMS prior to interning at the Go For Broke National Education Center. One of the things I like about the program is how user friendly it is. Using OHMS is not as a daunting as a task as it may seem; tagging the videos and adding keywords to each section is simple and straightforward. From the other perspective, searching for terms in the Google-like search box is an extremely efficient way to find a subject within the video, rather than having to scroll through the video manually. For this reason alone, OHMS can be a great resource for researchers wishing to use information from an oral history interview.

OHMS really helps oral histories become a practical resource for researchers and students, bringing about an interactive quality to these videos that did not exist before. All oral histories, but especially those that we work with here at Go For Broke contain valuable insight, discussions, information, and first-hand knowledge on topics that are very important to the history of our country. It is my belief that OHMS will help expose these stories to a wider audience and change the way the public is able to utilize oral histories.

As stated before, I am relatively new to using OHMS, but in the few months I have been using it, my experiences with it have been overwhelmingly positive. For someone new using the program, I would offer to approach using OHMS with confidence. The program is not complicated and once you get the hang of using it, the videos come alive that much more. Also, be gratuitous with your keywords and split the videos into cohesive sections. While OHMS is a great tool, it is also up to us to use our own skills to bring out the best of these valuable resources.


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