February 8

Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė
Welcome address

Dr. Regina Varnienė-Janssen
Development of the virtual electronic heritage system – digital heritage content and spread of e-services to Lithuania and Europe

- coming soon

Juozas Markauskas
Oral history in the digital archive: challenges and opportunities

- Heads of organisations and specialists with no experience in the storage of specific collections are sometimes of the opinion that digitisation of documents and access to them on the internet or other electronic means is a simple way of solving all the problems encountered in the protection of traditional document collections. However, a digital archive is not simply the digitisation of documents and preparation of storage facilities with a certain capacity. In order to ensure long term protection of digital documents and access to them, it is necessary to comply with the fundamental rules covering the preservation of the integrity of the information, accessibility and use of digital documents, as well as the development and support of organisational infrastructure. These rules are very important for the preservation of digital video and audio recording typical for recording oral history.

Mgr. Barbara Kopecka
Memory of the Nation: on-line digital archive

- Memory of the Nation ( is a digital database of testimonies that were collected on the basis of oral history methodology. It connects various European oral history projects and is a virtual research room where the witnesses are stored, interconnected, and linked to each other.

The project was launched in 2008 and is held by three Czech institutions: Post Bellum Association, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and Czech Radio. By now, mostly 30 European oral history projects have joined the initiative and 12 of those have already published parts of their witnesses’ collection on the website. Uniqueness and copyright of each project are guaranteed. Till now we have published 825 testimonies.

The website is available in 9 languages, interviews are published in their original language, and some of their parts are translated into English. Researchers from the entire world can easily search in the database and compare testimonies that are related to various categories or anniversaries. On the webpage are published testimonies of historical events throughout the 20th century. The digital archive contains audio and video recordings, clips, photos, texts, protocols, links and other additional material.

Thanks to several user levels it is possible to publish the witnesses just for registered users or to make them accessible to everyone who is interested in modern history.

The Memory of Nation project is a good starting point for the work of students, educators, publicists, journalists and historians, who focus on the history of the 20th century.

Mgr. Terje Anepaio
Documenting memories of Soviet repressions at the Estonian National Museum

- coming soon

PhD student Ainars Bambals
Comparison of the oral history of the victims of the Communist totalitarian regime with the documents of the repressive bodies of the Latvian SSR: Latvian experience

- This presentation is a part of the broad research topic ‘Documents of the repressive bodies of the Latvian SSR as a source of history’.

Documents of the repressive bodies of the Latvian SSR constitute a particularly important source of the Soviet period. However, the uniqueness of the criminal and deportation cases of the Latvian SSR NKVD collected at the Latvian State Archive can only be revealed by comparing these documents with the reminiscences of the victims, witnesses of the political repressions. Only eye witness stories and experience can attest to the spirit and scale of the GULAG.

Dr. Rūta Žarskienė
Lithuanian folklore manuscripts and prospects for their digitalisation

- The Lithuanian Folklore Manuscript Collection of the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore is the largest repository of Lithuanian folklore. It contains over 10,000 manuscript collections (1800–2010) with over 1.9 million folklore units. Other collections of this repository are also rich. It contains around 10,000 hours of audio and video recordings (1908–2010) and around 43,500 photographs and negatives (1907–2010).

The establishment of the collections can be attributed to the start of the activities of the Lithuanian Scientific Society (1907-1940) in Vilnius. The collection contains folklore manuscripts of such famous Lithuanian writers and public figures as Jonas Basanavičius, Antanas Baranauskas, Simonas Daukantas, Žemaitė, Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, Laurynas Ivinskis, Matas Šlančiauskas, and Jurgis Elisonas as well as the oldest Lithuanian folk melodies recorded onto piano rolls by Eduardas Valteris and J. Basanavičius. The manuscript collection was enriched with the funds of the Lithuanian Folklore Archive founded in Kaunas in 1935 with its abundant material collected in pre-war Lithuania and recordings on phonograph disks.

Digitalisation of the archive of the Institute of the Lithuanian Literature and Folklore started in 1998. The first data record tables were developed and the first tape recordings were rewritten. Systematic digitalisation has been conducted at the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore since 2001. Recordings of phonograph disks and piano rolls were transferred to digital media; if possible, analogue audio recordings and photographs are digitised and a specialised computer database is developed. Digitised audio recordings are regularly announced in various publications, such as the fundamental volumes of the Lithuanian Folk Song Collection (i.e. volumes XV-XXI, 2000–2009), a series on old phonograph audio recordings (2003–2007) and many others. In 2007, digitisation of the manuscript collection started and a strategic Lithuanian folklore manuscript database is being developed which should in the future include a description of all the collections available in the archive. The aim of all this work is to make use of the opportunities available in Lithuania and the EU projects and, by using modern technologies, to preserve the unique collections of Lithuanian folklore, to make them available to the general public, and to facilitate the work of those who use them.

Dr. Violeta Meiliūnaitė
The sound of traditional dialects in the digital age

- The sound of speech can only be transmitted by word of mouth. The word written in letters or other specific signs never sounds completely authentic – everyone reads into them what they think they should read. It is therefore extremely important to have an opportunity to hear, not just to read. In addition, it is only by listening to a live voice that it is possible to recreate emotions related to the subject of the speech and the teller’s temperament.

Dialect may also reveal itself when it is heard. However, as with many things traditional the compatibility of dialect with modern technology is rather complex. Sometimes we tend to be disturbed when we hear stories told in a dialect coming from a computer.

In the digital age it is necessary to transfer data into the media compatible with these technologies. This is one of the objectives of the employees of the Dialect Archive founded in 2002 at the Institute of the Lithuanian Language. The aim of the archive is to systematise and disseminate vernacular data in the form of audio recordings, card indexes, etc. The dissemination first of all starts with finding the preferred format. The presentation focuses on the experience of employees of the Dialect Archive in digitising audio recordings collected by scientists and the manuscript data of the first half of the 20th century on dialects which started in 1996. The presentation also includes information about the database of the Dialect Archive and its search engine. It also presents the opportunities available for listening to authentic dialect sounds in the digital age.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jolanta Zabarskaitė
The other value of oral language resources: memory and world view of the nation

- coming soon

February 9

Prof. dr. Marija Stonkienė
Legal aspects of digitalising oral history

- The paper focuses on the legal aspects of the production of oral history units, their use for the creation of derivative works, and their dissemination to the public, all important to digitalisation.

The analysis of the general legal framework for the production and use of oral history units focuses on the concept of oral history units – stories, recorded stories (in audio; video and audio formats), written and visual works (diaries, memoirs, photographs, etc.) – as objects of intellectual property. Any changes to and use of these works for the formation of the collective memory of people with the same experience (in collections of the works, exhibitions, etc.) both in the traditional form and applying new technologies are explored. The legal framework for works which do not constitute intellectual property is also provided.

The presentation draws attention to the possibilities of creating, as a result of the process of digitisation, a new object to which the intellectual property-copyrights and/or sui generis rights apply. It is noted that protection of intellectual property rights together with the requirements for the dissemination of public information form a legal framework for dissemination of oral history to the public.

Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė
Eyewitness testimony and memories of people – an important source for the formation of an onomastic database

- From its first days, the Commission of the Revival Movement for the Investigation of the Stalin Regime Crimes founded in 1988, subsequently known as, the Research Centre for the Repressions in Lithuania, started collecting authentic narrative material in the form of questionnaires, letters, lists, memories, etc from people. In 1990, two computers were received from Lithuanian expatriates in the US, which meant that all this material could be filed by forming an archive directory and a search engine and furthermore it could be digitised according to the technical possibilities of the time using the dDase format. A programme was created which allowed the first volume of the names of the people who suffered from the Soviet occupation (more than 28,000 entries) to be prepared and published. The programme for the preparation of the lists of names was further enhanced, reviewed and corrected. Up to now, six books of the said lists of names have been published using FoxPro and several auxiliary programmes, and the work continues.

Prior to digitisation, the authentic narrative material is processed (abridged into one card per individual) in accordance with the set guidelines, so that the operator enters only the information that will be included in the book. The current programme for completing the lists of names allows the use of all the resources available. The database is easily managed, and the data can be grouped and printed on the basis of 90 percent of the inputted information. However, it also has some drawbacks, one of the key ones being the lack of automatic Lithuanian language selection. Therefore, the Lithuanian letters have to be entered manually.

However, the fundamental principles of the programme operation provide great opportunities for further work. Technological solutions might yet be found to link the name database with the other databases of the Centre.

Dominik Czapigo
Why do we record full life story interviews?

- In every oral history projects that we've conducted since 2003, we consistently use a biographical interviews. Although each project has a specific topic in the title - for example: forced labor, survivors, we always ask our interviewees to tell us their whole life stories.

We divide our interviews into two parts: the first - free narrative, when the interviewer reduces its presence to a minimum. In the second part - the interviewer asks a questions that relates to what he already heard, but attempts to stimulate as lengthy pieces of narratives as possible.

I want to describe advanteges and disadvantages of this formula.

Mgr. Katalin Somlai
Life interviews as sources for historical research: archival tools, databases and content developments

- The Oral History Archive of Budapest has been collecting life interviews since the very beginning of the 1980s. The interview making began outside any structural form on the initiative of a few sociologists of the political underground just dismissed from their state sponsered positions. The first some hundred recollections were recorded with the aim of conserving the memory of the 1956 Hungarian revolution which otherwise was a taboo issue in the official history. The interviews made with the still living participants (politicians, members of workers’ councils, freedom fighters, those imprisoned after 1956) of the events have had the primary role of digging up facts on what really happened. Similarly in this illegal phase were made life interviews with top managers of the state industry. In this case however the focus was not on fact-hunting rather on the studying of the social mobility of real socialism on the one hand and of the attitude of economic leaders towards the reforms of centralized economy as well as their ideological commitment. After the change of the political system the Archive has undertaken different new projects concerning among others interviews with those repatriated, the children of the 1956-ers, members of the other, that is to say, underground Hungary and of the democratic opposition movement. As a result of this work more than a thousand 10-12 hour life interviews with personal documents (photoes, memoirs etc.) are available for the researchers. In the course of my contribution I am to show how the ways of conserving, cataloguing and elaborating of the interviews has changed together with the archival tools at the disposal of the researchers in close connection with the transformation of the political circumstances, the possibilities offered by the technical environment and the changing of the scholarly interest.

Mgr. Jan Dvorak
The experience of Czech citizens prisoned in the Soviet forced labor camps

- This report describes one of the oral-history projects of Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes – The Experience of Czech citizens prisoned in the Soviet forced labor camps. In previous years Czechs and Czechoslovak citizens were exposed to almost all kinds of persecution like Soviet citizens in Soviet union that were used by security, judicia and extrajudicial apparati, be it executions based on decisions of „special councils“, imprisonment and deportations to Gulags, forced migrations, all kinds of displacement and expatriation. The main aim of this project is to record memories of the last living Czech citizens prisoned between 40s-60s in the Soviet forced labor camps. Among project’s respondents there are different groups of witnesses who became prisoners of the Soviet regime from different reasons – refugees from German and Hungarian persecution to USSR, Czechoslovaks from the Czechoslovak boarder territory who were forced to serve and fight in the German army, or the Czechoslovak citizens who were abducted by Soviet counterintelligence from the Czechoslovakia territory to USSR at the end of or after the war. Experience of our citizens was deliberately concealed in post-war communist Czechoslovakia and until recently had not been systematically examined. Memories of the last living witnesses are another testimony of the Soviet repressive apparatus activities against people with a foreign citizenship. Most of the interviews were recorded on the territory of the Czech republic, few of them with pre-war Czechoslovak citizens living abroad in foreign countries.

Violeta Životkevičiūtė
Oral history in Places of Exile and Imprisonment, a programme of the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania

- The Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania is implementing the programme ‘Places of exile and imprisonment’. The aim of the programme is to create an archive of reminiscences as well as an audio/video collection about mass deportations and imprisonment in GULAG prison camps during the period of the Soviet occupation (1940–1990); to identify the places of deportation and imprisonment of Lithuanian citizens in the Soviet Union; collect data on living and working conditions in exile and the prison camps and on Lithuanian burial places; assemble an archive of photographs of the places of exile and imprisonment; and finally supplement rarely accessible official historical archive documents with the reminiscences. Between 1940 and 1990, around 300,000 Lithuanian citizens were deported from Lithuania to prison camps, around 28,000 of them died in exile and around 20,000 – in prison camps.

Collection of the reminiscences was conducted in two stages. In stage one, volunteers surveyed and recorded reminiscences of former deportees and political prisoners in different districts of Lithuania according to questionnaires prepared by the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre. In stage two, these records were filed in the manuscript database, analysed and revised. The analysis showed that the reminiscences needed to be clarified and supplemented. This was conducted using the following two methodologies:

1) in writing, by sending letters with specific questions and asking for clarification and supplementation of the information received in the manuscripts;
2) using the method of oral history – an unstructured or free interview, recorded using audio or video; the recording was subsequently transcribed.
The programme was very successful. Over 50,000 different reminiscences and 26,000 photographs from various places of exile and imprisonment were collected. Former deportees and political prisoners not only answered the questionnaire, but also revealed their memoirs written earlier, but not published, and opened their family archives. In addition to reminiscences and photographs, other very important resources were obtained: certificates issued by prison wardens, prison camp documents, letters, and diaries, documents of the activities of Catholic priests in exile, paintings, and various other exhibits. 1,500 places of imprisonment and 2,500 places of exile of Lithuanian citizens in the Soviet Union were identified. A comprehensive database for analysis of the places of deportation and imprisonment was created.

Danutė Selčinskaja
Rescued Lithuanian Jewish Child Tells About the Shoah (DVD presentation)

- coming soon

Šis projektas finansuojamas remiant Europos Komisijai.
Interneto svetainė atspindi tik autoriaus požiūrį, todėl Komisija negali būti laikoma atsakinga už bet kokį jame pateikiamos informacijos naudojimą.