The Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, an open source tool developed for timecoding and viewing indexes and transcriptions of oral histories, is an application that has a low bar for use: it’s free, it can be easily implemented on most servers, and the learning curve is very manageable. OHMS provides independent and institutional users a scale-able resource for enhancing access to oral history, and as such represents a kind of holy grail for oral historians. The usefulness of OHMS, however, extends beyond resources with audio tracks; it can also be applied meaningfully to silent movies, to create time-coded annotation that describes a movie’s action and images. Creating time-based description in the absence of an audio track has great potential for opening up what are broadly categorized as “home movies,” but include documentary and travel films in additional to the more traditional family moving portraits. Words Painting Pictures will describe the methodology of crosswalking pre-existing shotlists into OHMS as part of the H. Lee Waters digital project at Duke Libraries (http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/hleewaters/).
Craig Breaden is Audiovisual Archivist at the David M. Rubenstein Library at Duke University, where he has managed the processing of collections such as the Jazz Loft Project, the H. Lee Waters Film Collection, the Radio Haiti Archives, and the Frank Clyde Brown collection of North Carolina folk songs. From 2006 to 2012, he was Head, Media and Oral History, at the Richard B. Russell Library at the University of Georgia. He holds a MA in history from Utah State University and an MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.