Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Policies and Housing and Oral History

Some re-housing has been going on at the Archives at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre during the past month. The archives staff who are working on an oral history project have started to reorganize the material in the climate controlled area by putting it in proper containers and adding proper labeling. This work is being done with funding for supplies and containers provided from the new Provincial Archives Development Program at Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management under the Department of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage and is helping the workers understand the storage needs of certain types of archival material and is allowing them to make space for the components of the Oral History project they’ve been working on for almost a year under a partnership with Service Canada and the Municipality of the County of Inverness. 

Contributing to technical assistance and supplies for the Service Canada Collection project were the community C@P group in Judique and the Inverness County C@P Network Society. 
Both groups provided computer hardware and software that had been placed in the community by Service Canada and Industry Canada to provide training opportunities for ongoing projects using computers, internet, digital cameras, and audio and video digitizing.  Three projects have been supported and twelve adult residents and students  have received specialized training and experience in using the equipment. 

The Oral History interviewers were Andrea Beaton and Kinnon Beaton. Diane Gillis, Angela MacNeil and Andrea Scott were audio-video archives techs who received hands-on training in collecting oral histories from musicians. These were recorded separately in digital audio and video. Though the project is not yet finished so far 53 interviews have been recorded, the audio and video uploaded, digitally stored, backed-up, photographs taken, and interviews transcribed. Throughout it all they’ve been learning to prepare the final material for deposit in the archives where it will be available to be viewed and listened to by the public.
“There are so many more on the list of potential interview subjects that we didn’t get to yet.” says Andrea Scott who was Lead Technician on the project for the past three months. Part of the project was to update the Audio Music Collection Project the county carried out between 1993 and 1996. “That first part has now been digitized.” says Donna MacDonald, Director of Recreation and Tourism for the Municipality of Inverness, “ and last year we progressed to video and this will be accessible for so many to study.”
The project also received help from the Centre for Cape Breton Studies and Dr. Richard MacKinnon. He coached the team in the beginning . With a successful year of collecting, Kinnon Beaton, Director of the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre confirms his wish to continue the project. “The information is so important. We lose so much whenever we lose another musician.” He’s thinking, for one, of John MacDougall from Kenloch who recently passed away. MacDougall was interviewed and was a storehouse of information and very willing to share his knowledge. Soon after, this man, renowned for his prolific composition of tunes, (upward of 30,000) and who instructed many younger fiddlers, succumbed to an illness.
His interview and the other tapes, backup drives, computer discs, and transcriptions, and project records will be deposited at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre Archives. The archives is special as one of many institutional archives in Nova Scotia. Within the province, archives are encouraged to set preservation management as the guiding light for all archival functions, especially when acquiring materials and making the collections accessible to the public. Taking appropriate care of what donors deposit at the archives is key and with the new PADP funding assistance, the policies at the CMIC archives have been reviewed and rewritten with preservation management in mind. If you’d like more information about what you can do or deposit at the archives call 787-2708 or e-mail archives@celticmusicsite.com.

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