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American Philosophical Society Native American Projects: Three NEH grants have supported Tim Powell’s work at the American Philosophical Society Native American Projects with the Ojibwe Indian bands in northern Minnesota to produce more than 70 hours of video and audio tape recordings of Ojibwe elders discussing traditional knowledge. The current NEH grant (2010-2011) through the Leech Lake Tribal College funds work to build a digital archive at the college with a mirror site at the University of Pennsylvania. The raw footage has been edited into more than eighty 3-5 minute videos, all of which are freely available on YouTube. The grant is paying for the current prototype of an Ojibwe digital archive, entitled Gibagadinamaagoom (‘To Bring to Life, to Sanction, to Give Permission,’, to be redesigned in a Drupal CMS by the Penn’s School of Arts and Science Computing, which will maintain the site. The technical challenge was to identify when the speakers switched from English to Ojibwe and then to analyze why they switched languages. This material includes traditional stories, oral histories, interviews regarding traditional Ojibwe conceptions of health, cosmology, historical trauma, language and culture.

The American Philosophical Society has recently received two Mellon grants to digitize more than 3000 hours of its Native American audio collection, which includes recordings from more than 50 tribes across Native America. Please see the APS Library website manuscripts search to see which indigenous nations have recordings in the collection or contact Tim Powell at tpowell[at] The audio recordings are not available on-line, but the APS will provide free digital copies to those accepted into the HiPSTAS project.

The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History: As a leading history research center, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History collects, preserves, and makes available documentary and material culture evidence encompassing key themes in Texas and U.S. History. With the assistance of staff and students in the School of Information, digitization of the Briscoe Center’s audio and moving image archives are now on the Briscoe Center’s website. Featured on the Briscoe Center’s rich media portal, The Texas Oral History of the Oil Industry includes audio and moving image materials that are enriched with access tools such as searchable transcripts, indexes, table of contents, and geographical data. These tools, now synchronized to the audio/visual content, allow researchers to navigate the hours of content in creative ways. Another important sound archive within the Briscoe Center’s holdings is the University of Texas’ Folklore Center Archives, which includes manuscript, typescript, printed, photographic, and audio material. Spanning six decades of work, the Folklore Center Archive produced 1,686 1/4″ tapes and 357 cassettes along with cataloging records for most of these recordings. Riddles, proverbs, games, jokes, legends, folktales, and instrumental music are just a few types of content that were recorded in the field by folklorists John A. Lomax, William A. Owens, John Henry Faulk, Americo Paredes, and Mody Boatright. Much of the folklore collected came from Texas, the Southwest and Latin America.

Lyndon B. Johnson Library: The Lyndon B. Johnson Library holds many audio collections pertaining to President “LBJ” and his wife “Lady Bird” Johnson. The speeches by LBJ, Lady Bird, the cabinets members and the newer ones from events that the LBJ Library host are open access and in the public domain, that way you can use the files and will not have to purchase copies. Collection includes:

  • Pre-Presidential, 1936-1963 collections include mostly 1960 campaign speeches, transferred from dictabelts recorded by Senator Johnson’s staff; also official remarks delivered by Lyndon B. Johnson while representing the United States abroad during his vice presidency, recorded by USIA (378 tapes).
  • Presidential, 1963-1969, collections include audio recorded by the White House Communications Agency (848 tapes).
  • Post-Presidential, 1969-1973, and Mrs. Johnson, 1969- collections, recorded by the LBJ Library or received in donation comprise 227 tapes.
  • Selected Speeches and Remarks by Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964-1969, collections were recorded by the White House Communications Agency (156 tapes).

PennSound was launched January 1, 2005, as a Web-based archive for noncommercial distribution of the largest collection of poetry sound files on the Internet. PennSound offers a large variety of freely accessible digital recordings of poems — currently 27,394 downloadable MP3s and fast growing — mostly as song-length singles. It would take a person 5,120 hours (213 days) to listen to all the files currently in PennSound. PennSound combines aspects of a library archive and a Web music-download site. Basic bibliographic information is incorporated in each file so that a user downloads not only the sound but also key facts about the recording, including author, title, place and date of the recording, series, as well as copyright information. As part of the PennSound project, the Annenberg Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Penn is developing a sophisticated cataloguing tool for the poetry sound files, enabling other libraries to collect the material and enabling teachers to add the MP3s to their online syllabi. The poetry sound files are retrievable both from a library catalog by authors’ names and via Web search engines. Charles Bernstein, Co-Director with Al Filreis, writes, “The beauty of PennSound is that in the course of preserving these recordings, we are also making available a treasure trove of wonderful poetry performances that we believe will attract a whole new generation to poetry as a performance art.” PennSound is an ongoing project for producing and archiving new audio recordings from Penn and around the world, as well as preserving existing audio archives. The site provides as much documentation about individual recordings as possible with new files and new bibliographic information to be added. PennSound works closely with the Electronic Poetry Center ( and UbuWeb ( as well as Penn’s English Department and School of Arts and Sciences.

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