In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we asked Julia O. to write about the Collections and Archives project that she and other volunteers have been contributing to. We thank all of our 100+ volunteers for their support and contributions to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society throughout the year.
In 2016 the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society began a project to collect oral history interviews about the fishing and canning industry on Canada’s West Coast.
In 2018, we began transcribing these interviews. The goal of transcription is to improve accessibility and searchability of the Oral History collection. This allows relevant sections of these interviews to be used internally in exhibits or referenced in programming, and externally by researchers and interested members of the public.
To transcribe the collection, the oral history is first run through a program that transcribes the text. However, the program is not one hundred percent accurate, and this is where volunteers come in! Volunteers like myself listen to the transcript and correct any misheard words, spelling mistakes, or sentence structures. We also divide up the dialogue into an easy to follow, flowing conversation.
Hearing these oral histories firsthand has led me to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the challenges that were faced by those working in the fishing industry, such as the dangers of ocean storms and the isolation felt at sea. However, there are many stories of joyful moments such as the strong camaraderie among fishermen and the feeling of the independence as a fisherman.
To date, volunteers have transcribed around 51 interviews totaling over 39 hours of transcribed audio.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Heidi Rampfl, Collections Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oral History interviews can be accessed through the Society’s online database, available at cannerycollections.org.