Author Archives: Shawn O'Neil

Oral History (Not Dentistry History)

I recently went to a workshop on oral history and I would like to share some thoughts of this workshop.

We all have stories.  Telling these stories integrated with historical events is what oral historians strive for. The Oral History Association defines oral history as “a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in the past and ways of life.”

Troy Reeves, the Head of Oral History Program at UC, conducted an educational and entertaining workshop.  He taught us how to perform a successful interview.  The interview was broken up into 3 stages: pre-interview, interview and post interview.

The Pre-interview consist of researching the subject and person that you want to discuss and meeting the “narrator” of the historical story.  Always test your equipment before the actual interview.  Get a “release form” for the “narrator” to sign.

The interview is the actual interview with a recording device, making sure that the environment is suitable both audible and visually.

The Post-interview may be the hardest step because this is the grueling work. This is the stage were you catalog the material, make either an index or transcription of the material. Deposit the material in some kind of receptacle (digital format, tape or HD). Sending a thank you card, with a note if there is anything else they would like to add. Offer them a copy of the interview.

These points were just an example of the material that was presented. He shared his tips and experience with us.   The one thing (out of many) that struck a note with me is the unexpected or the “real” story that may come out in the interview.  An oral historian isn’t like an investigative reporter.  An investigative reporter is there to get a story an Oral historian is there to get the entire story without editing it.

Here are links that will bring everything into prospective and compare UW and Midd.

Here is the University of Wisconsin Oral History’s Department. The UC Oral History department grew from a project into an actual department.

Here is a link to an oral history project on voices on their campus,

which I thought was similar to our digital lecture collection:,A,1;lectur,A,1;title,A,0;descri,200,0;date,A,0;20;lectur,none,none,none,none&CISOBIB=lectur,A,1,N;origin,A,0,N;title,200,0,N;none,A,0,N;none,A,0,N;20;lectur,none,none,none,none&CISOTHUMB=20%20(4×5);lectur,none,none,none,none&CISOTITLE=20;lectur,none,none,none,none&CISOHIERA=20;title,lectur,none,none,none&CISOSUPPRESS=0&CISOTYPE=browse&CISOROOT=%2Fdiglectarc

This is housed here:

The UW’s library collection has oral historical interviews in their collections.

Please feel free to contact me (or leave a comment below) if you would like to discuss this anymore or have questions.



Items that can leave the Library:

Calculators: These have a four hour loan rule and may be taken outside of the Library.

Mac VGA Adapters: These are found in the same drawer as the calculators and have a 4 hour loan rule.  These are typically checked out with LCD projectors and may be taken out of the Library.

LCD Projectors: These are kept in the equipment cabinet in room 208 and have a loan period of one day.  If a patron walks in without booking an LCD projector beforehand, be absolutely sure that the one you check out to them does not have a booking that day or the following day.  To do this search “LCD Projector” as a title in Search\Holds,  double click the record with the corresponding number appearing on the projector, and click on the bookings tab when in the Item Record.  If it has a booking the dates of the booking will appear in the record.

Fac/Staff Loaner laptops: There are three Dell laptops and Three MacBooks that can be loan out for a 2 week period to faculty or staff only.

Laptop Power Adapters: These are kept with the Laptops in the 208 Cabinet and are always checked out with laptops.  We have extras for individual checkout, but always be sure that there are at least the same number of adapters as there are laptops.  Power adapters cannot leave Bihall and they have a 4 hour loan period.

Items that CANNOT leave the Library:

Laptops: There are four Dell laptops and two Ibooks available for check out on a first come, first serve basis.  They have a loan period of 4 hours and must be returned when the library closes.  These are kept in the equipment cabinet in 208.  Please remind patrons that these cannot leave the Library under any circumstance.  When laptops are returned, please check to make sure they have been properly shut down and all the appropriate parts are still intact (pop-up windows will prompt you in what to look for).

PLEASE NOTE:  Equipment borrowed at Armstrong must be returned at Armstrong.  This rule applies for equipment at Main as well.  Equipment must be returned to the branch it was borrowed from.  So we do not check in items such as:

Calculators from the Main Library

Tape recorders

LCD Projector from Main




CD Players



Am I Obsolete?

While I was doing research for customer service for our student workers, I came across this great article.  The article’s author, Mark P. Bernstein, states that “Service (customer service) is what will allow libraries to not only survive, but thrive.”   This is something that I always thought was important.   I feel that having a good professional and human relationship with our patrons (customers) promotes  this “thriving”.  If you think about it…we at Middlebury College LIS have build these relationships, some of them for 25 years or more.   I believe one of LIS strengths is customer service and there is always room to improve or build those already established bonds.


We still have some left if anyone is interested.

Today(Thursday the 30th) in Armstrong Group Study 205

(Next to the Circulation Desk)

Take some!  The only rules are:

BE CONSIDERATE of others.  Take only the maps that you’ll use. 

NEVER bring the maps back!  We don’t want to see them again!!!

(These maps are duplicates or outdated.  We don’t have space for them.)

 Enjoy your new maps!