The Power of Photographs

Post written by Chris Brusatte, Exhibit Manager at Go For Broke National Education Center

Photos are powerful. Without using any words, they can show a depth of emotions. They can capture events better than any text ever could. They are a snapshot in time, forever able to take viewers back to a moment, an event, a struggle, a triumph.

At Go For Broke National Education Center, our archives are full of powerful photographs. They capture the Japanese American soldiers of World War II – and their families – in many different lights. Some photos show the men in the chaos of battle. Others show them lined up in rigid discipline during basic training. But most photos simply capture the soldiers in their most natural element – as young men spending time with one another, joking, laughing, shooting the breeze. These images humanize our heroes. They remind us that between each horrific battle, these young men were people just like the rest of us.

From time to time, we will use this blog to share photos of these heroes as everyday young men. We will show you images of them playing games, smiling, and chatting with twinkles in their eyes. We will show them living.

Here is one of my favorites. Tell us what you think of this photograph – what does it mean to you?

Chris Blog 4 Photo - Camp Savage, 1942_Courtesy of Vincenzo Peluso and Toyoko Yamane-Peluso
Camp Savage, 1942. Courtesy of Vincenzo Peluso and Toyoko Yamane-Peluso.

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.

What Are You Working On, Summer Espinoza?

Post by Summer Espinoza, Project Manager at Go For Broke National Education Center

This past month has been an exciting one for our archives!  We’ve brought on three graduate student interns who will be helping us index over 4,200 interview files (representative of our 1,180 oral histories) and Gavin Do, our associate archivist, has joined our growing team.  Our project has seen some significant progress as we’ve moved to a new web-publishing platform where we will be able to maximize user accessibility to our intensive indexing and cataloging. Once our project is done, users will be able to apply textual searches to oral histories. Currently, we are testing functionality between the indexing application, the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer and Omeka, our web-publishing platform. Our team also met with scholars, Drs. Kristine Dennehy, Linda Tamura and Thomas Philo, who provided us with fantastic feedback on our subject heading thesaurus.  I also had the opportunity to present our project at the first-annual Society of California Archivists Mini-Conference focused on digital initiatives.

Although I do not have the opportunity to spend much time with the oral histories, I do have the opportunity to guide our indexers and it has been nothing short of inspiring to see both staff and interns working so diligently to unhide these unique narratives.