Innovating with Collections Online_Oral History

Welcome to Innovating with Collections Online: Oral History

This project, “Innovating with Collections Online”, including Action Research and Speaker Series, is organized by Digital Action Research & Training, the Toronto History Museums, and the Ontario Museum Association.

The Innovating with Collections Online project is funded by the Government of Canada through the Museums Assistance Program.

Government of Canada wordmark


What's Happened So Far

Webinar: Practical Approaches to Ethical Oral History

November 15, 2022

The Ontario Museum Association, in partnership with Toronto History Museums and Surface Impression, held a discussion on how best to use oral history in museums. Dr. Pauline Tennent, Manager for the Centre for Human Rights Research (CHRR) at the University of Manitoba, and Heather Bidzinski, Heather Bidzinski, Head of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Manitoba, shared their experiences using oral history in research, collections, and exhibition work while addressing some common challenges.


Webinar: Building Discoverability, Access, and Versatility into Archived Oral History Collections

December 12, 2022

In defining oral history and discussing the lifecycle of the interview, “archive” often serves as a terse end to a process that privileges the processes of collecting. But oral history is a continuous archival process, the administrative labour of which begins before the interviews, and continues long after an interview is deposited in an archive. This presentation explores how oral history best practices—a pre-custodial approach designed to support the preservation of born digital collections—can be applied to extant collections in order to facilitate discoverability and access. It extends the lifecycle of the interview to include post-custodial archival processes by outlining the administrative labour and technical processing required to support long-term ethical and functional access to oral history collections, and the re-use of interviews.

Featuring speakers from the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg: Brett Lougheed, Director of the Oral History Centre Kent Davies, Adjunct Professor and the Audio Technician at the Oral History Centre Kimberley Moore, Adjunct Professor, and the Programming and Collections Specialist at the University of Winnipeg Oral History Centre.

Download slides here.


Webinar: Mapping Oral History with Atlascine and Sensibility Mapping

January 18, 2022

This webinar will present two innovative cartographic approaches designed to map collections of stories and interviews. The first one will be structured around Atlascine, a free, online and open-source software developed to map collections of stories. Through the full interaction between media and maps, Atlascine offers new ways of navigating within and between audiovisual stories. Here, the map is envisioned not only as a way to reveal places as described in stories, but also to expand the possibilities of accessing, listening, visualizing and connecting these stories. The second cartographic approach will be devoted to the exploration of the inner parts of these stories using "sensibility mapping.” Sensibility mapping is a creative way of investigating the intimate, emotional and personal dimensions of stories. Through this webinar, participants can expect to familiarise themselves with the potential, limits and complementarity of both approaches to expand the access to (corpuses of) interviews. 


  • Sébastien Caquard, co-director of COHDS and a professor in the department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University
  • Élise Olmedo, post-doctoral researcher at the department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University.
  • Emory Shaw, PhD student at Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)

Download Q&A responses here.