Unlocking Our Sound Heritage - Transcription

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Working on Transcriptions

This story will have images of students from Aberystwyth University who are studying an MA in Archive Administration carrying out the process of transcribing for The Story of the Forest Project, which is part of the Unlocking our Sound Heritage Project. 

As part of the UOSH: The Story of the Forest project, the group had to transcribe a number of recordings in order to create detailed summaries for the catalogue. The majority of mini-discs contained recordings that were in Welsh, totalling about two thirds of the 167 disks that have been digitised. With only two Welsh speakers within the group, transcribing these Welsh recordings quickly became a priority.

Covering an area spanning from Newborough up to the north of Wales down to Cefn Sidan to the south, these recordings discuss a variety of topics in relation to the Forestry Commission, detailing many aspects of the work, the tools and machinery used and the individual characters who animated everyday working life. Opinions regarding the practices and policies of the Forestry Commission are also expressed, including perspectives from outside the Commission itself such as that of a local shepherd. Additionally, many recordings provide a wealth of information relating to Welsh history and culture, with detailed accounts of life within rural communities and of the surrounding areas.

Being such a rich source of Welsh heritage, the importance of capturing this information in a manner that would best aid its discovery quickly became apparent. One of the biggest challenges faced by the group involved the pronunciation and spelling of the numerous Welsh place names being mentioned. A feeling of great responsibility was shared by all in getting such details right, recognising their importance in providing future researchers with a gateway into their content.

The sense of time and place generated by these recordings has certainly left a profound impression. They provide an intimate, honest and colourful account of life and landscape as it was shaped by the Forestry Commission. The foresight shown and the work undertaken to capture these oral histories in the first place should be commended. As a group, we can only hope to do them justice, aiming to further promote these unique stories through the creation of an online exhibition via the People’s Collection Wales website.

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