After further discussion with Doc Martens, I have more confidence in my digital collections project. My plan is to create a collection of photographs and sound recordings of my maternal relatives, along with a family tree going back to my great-great grandparents (if possible), to capture genealogical information and some of the oral history of my family. For a while I was afraid I would be unable to use some of my grandparents’ most interesting photographs, such as my grandfather and his classmates standing in front of their one-room Pennsylvania school house, circa 1925. According to Copyright.gov, all works created prior to 1979 are under copyright until 70 years after the creator’s death. Since we don’t know who took some of my grandparents’ pictures, or when the photographer died, I was afraid they would be unusable. But Doc Martens said that orphan works created by someone most certainly dead would be acceptable to include in my collection.
I have three CDs of my grandfather and his cousin Lyle telling stories from their childhood and some experiences from WWII that I want to harvest for my collection. Since Lyle died several years ago, again I was concerned I couldn’t use his stories for my collection, being unable to ask his permission. But since I asked my grandfather and Lyle to make the recordings for the purpose of preservation and to collect facts for a book I hoped to write one day, Doc Martens felt using the sound recordings would be admissable. I couldn’t find any guiding information on the matter on the Oral History Association website, but I’m certain Lyle wouldn’t have minded me using his stories for this purpose. He shared them with me because he wanted to share them with the world. This project will allow me to do more towards that end than I have in the last ten years. I haven’t given up on writing the book, but I’m not sure I have enough material. All the more reason to encourage my grandfather to record more stories.
I bought a cheap mp3 player with a built-in microphone that will supposedly allow me to record and transfer the audio files to my computer for editing. I need to break it out and see if I can figure out how it works.
Having played with the collection platform Omeka a bit more, I’m a little disappointed that one can’t apparently view the photograph and the associated metadata in the same screen. Unless I’m missing something. I’m not certain that Omeka is going to allow the organization scheme I had envisioned, but I don’t know everything about how it operates yet. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If not, I’ll at least learn something from my frustration, I’m sure.