Skip to comments.West Point sets up research center for oral histories
Posted on 12/27/2008 6:26:12 AM PST by Mike Fieschko
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point has established the Center for Oral History, an online research center gathering the personal stories of U.S. service members, according to a news release.
The center, which will launch in 2009, will be advised by a board that includes documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, former presidential adviser Brent Scowcroft, and historians, journalists and educators. The project aims to educate West Point cadets and to build a bridge between the military and the civilian population.
The site, www.westpointcoh.org, is open to the public.
The West Point Center for Oral History will be the premier oral history archive of the story of the American soldier, in both war and peace. It will serve as a powerful learning tool for West Point cadets and as an important research center for historians and the general public.Here is part of the press release announcing the project:
Interview subjects will range from veterans of World War II through soldiers returning from the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
WEST POINT, N.Y., December 2, 2008 The United States Military Academy at West Point, whose graduates are commissioned 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Army, has launched an ambitious Center for Oral History to serve as a living archive on the experiences of American soldiers in war and peace. The Center aims to be a powerful learning tool for West Point cadets and an important research center for historians, as well as a destination for the public to gain greater understanding of the essential and unique calling of the U.S. soldier.The full press release (pdf format) is available here.
The Center for Oral History will exist largely online, with high-definition video and digital audio files, easing access for everyone from campus cadets to scholars, journalists and interested students half a world away.
Monica Lewinsky alert!
This project has been in the works for about 18 months - 2 years.
Socrates did not take to writing as it led to lying. Oral history is the way to go.
The sooner after an event that a person is interviewed about it, the more accurate the oral history. The farther in time, the more contaminated the interview, especially if gotten at a unit reunion where the veterans have been sharing their stories over the years, they inadvertenly include other’s memories as their own.
An interview needs to be prepared when he does the interview, especially about a specific event, that he has a basic understanding and can ask good questions. An interview about a person’s career is more difficult for the interviewer to prepare for, but he can still have basic control of the interview and, through the use of follow up questions, get the interviewee to elaborate more and/or clarify events/issues.