Columbia's Oral History Research Office to Expand Capacity
NEW YORK, May 19, 2010 –

The Columbia Libraries' Oral History Research Office (OHRO) will expand its capacity and further its research, education, digital archiving and dissemination capabilities, with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies.


Funding will allow OHRO to expand its current project on Guantanamo Bay, which has focused on lawyers working on issues of detainee welfare and justice, to include testimony of former detainees and to their families, communities and advocates. Additionally, OHRO will explore new digital methods for making interviews publicly accessible and expand access to its historic archives. The grant will enable the creation of two new positions to support OHRO's interviewing work, and develop new strategies for making its collections, news, educational offerings and special lectures and programs visible and accessible to the public.

The Oral History Research Office, founded in 1948, has served since that time as a center for creation of standards of excellence in interviewing, archiving and teaching oral history worldwide. Mary Marshall Clark, Director of OHRO, said, "This crucial support from the Atlantic Philanthropies will allow us to expand our core capacity in ways that allow us to broaden our outreach and to develop the field of oral history globally. As we increasingly use oral history to account for the challenges we face in our own times due to the impact of rapid political, economic and social change on vulnerable populations, this affirmation of our mission could not have come at a better time."

The Columbia University Oral History Research Office is the oldest and largest organized university-based oral history program open to the public in the world. Founded in 1948 by Pulitzer Prize winning historian Allan Nevins, the oral history collection now contains nearly 8,000 taped memoirs, and nearly 1,000,000 pages of transcript. The program is also a center for teaching and research, offering opportunities for students, visiting scholars and fellows.  For more information, please visit: /content/libraryweb/indiv/oral.html

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.  

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic focuses on four critical social problems: Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation and Human Rights. Programmes founded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam.

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5/19/10 LMK