Share – on a website

One of the great benefits of websites is that, as broadband speeds increase, it makes them great places to actually listen to people’s voices, rather than merely read transcripts of their words. It is also possible to use website architecture to create touch screen museum exhibitions, as one of my examples below demonstrates.

I’m no web designer. I can edit sound, I can do very simple photoshopping (sizing and cropping images etc.) I’ve got skilled friends to provide me with the basic architecture and then I’ve added the content – just as I have with this website!

Days of Pride

days of pride websiteThis website was originally a series of 5 half-hour radio documentaries created in 1982 from material originally collected for a musical documentary play of the same name about the First World War. Scroll forward 20 years and the voice of the narrator becomes the text link, the voiced extracts from the newspaper become text boxes (with a photoshopped date for each newspaper heading) and the voices of the interviewees can be heard, together with a transcript for the deaf. Its audience is now world-wide instead of Milton Keynes wide.

Ina’s Album

ina's album websiteAs the introduction to this website tells, my Mum came to visit with an album of photos her brother had given her. They came from their mother’s house when it had been cleared after her death. Mum started to tell me about the photos and I stopped her, went off and got my minidisc and started to record her stories about each photo. So, 57 photos and 57 recorded descriptions. How do you best share that? The obvious answer was a book but I wanted to hear her voice and retain the idea of the photo album. My memories of photo albums as a child were of sugar paper and white writing and I got a friend to design a template based on this idea. I created a website from the material but at that time Mum did not have an internet link so I gave it to her on a CD to play on her computer.

It’s such a simple idea that I would think it would be a great way to do a community photo album – it could involve lots of people talking about their photos and the interviews would be short – but so far I haven’t seen anything like it. Let me know if you have.

Oxford Museum

oxford museum websiteI was asked to train a group of volunteers at Oxford Museum in oral history interviewing and audio recording who then went on to collect memories of local people about life on the Home Front in the second World War. Six weeks later I returned to train members of the same group in digitising and editing their recordings in Sound Forge Studio. They then went on to do rough edits of the bits of interviews they wanted to use and I and colleagues had the job of tidying up the recordings and then presenting them in a website format that was then used on a touch screen as part of the Museum’s Home front exhibition