With the year 2020, the Cambodian Oral History Project enters its fifth year. The project is now approaching the 5000-interview milestone with contributions from 16 of the 25 Cambodian provinces. We have received interviews from 110 different local peer leaders. The BYU team has six student team members and various volunteers. The tables figures below summarize some of the work of the project work in the past four years. Since the outset the project has involved 15 student team members and nice BYU interns in Cambodia.
In the past year we have implemented a number of processes that have helped manage the growing number of interviews and transcriptions, including:
- Adaptation of the BYU library’s Transcribe system that allows a type of crowd sourcing of translation by US based volunteers
- Jotform plugin that lets Cambodian peer leaders to upload to a cloud interview data
- Created online training materials for peer leaders and BYU volunteers
- Created a Word Press based database that allows user searches via key words
Challenges and Needs
The in-country collection of interviews and transcription continues to be strong, though at a somewhat slower pace in 2019 (political issues and changes in local staff were a short-term hindrance to collection activity). Toward our aim making the stories broadly accessible, we are striving to populate the new database, provide keywords for texts, and translate more interviews. The College of Humanities provides a base support and the college’s Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) gives support in the form of faculty time and technical assistance. Two outside donors have provided funds that are earmarked for student salaries, which continue to be our greatest need.
University Connections and Public Exposure
Recently the project has garnered attention in media, including the following pieces:
- “The Cambodian Oral History Project.” The Power of Preserving Oral History. With Brian Croxall. RootsTech 2019. Salt Lake City, Utah. March 1, 2019.
- Saving Cambodian Stories” BYU Magazine. Winter 2019.
- “The Cambodia Oral History Project” Constant Wonder with Marcus Smith. KBYU Radio. (Original airdate: 9/19/2018).
- “BYU Cambodian Oral History Project connects generations” Daily Universe. August 7, 2018
- “Khmer Rouge Survivors Speak.” Top of Mind with Julie Rose. KBYU Radio. (Original airdate: March 20, 2018).
- Giving Voice to Cambodia’s Silent Past. Brigham Young University, College of Humanities Newsletter.
Thanks to the many people who have made the project’s remarkable progress possible!
Submitted by Dana Scott Bourgerie, Project Director
Image courtesy of Joachim Aspenlaub Blattboldt. Used in accordance with its CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.