Colorado Voice Preserve will be a model for other states to follow, to build a shared repository that extends the boundaries of traditional librarianship. We are conceiving a non-profit institution that assists in the creation and preservation of oral-history collections and facilitates public access to those collections. Our objective is to help disparate agencies (library, museum, historical, school, or community) to plan and carry out story projects that meet an identified need or perform a specific service. The intended outcome is maximum access to audio content.

Key concepts that inform our thinking

1) Access  is a precedent.

Often with oral history, audio is created without an understanding for what will happen to the interview once it’s recorded. Interviews may languish until they can be placed at an institution—and even then, the facility may not have the staff and resources to make the audio widely available and discoverable. For Voice Preserve, we are starting at the end point: an institution that’s equipped to deal with new oral-history projects, and protocols for carrying out new projects, to ensure placement in the repository.

2) Content grows in meaning through relationships.

We understand the importance of analyzing what’s contained in an interview, describing that information, and then linking the contents to other types of information. We will collaborate with educators and stewards of cultural heritage to reveal connections and encourage creative use of the audio.

Primarily, Colorado Voice Preserve will be a digital repository. At the same time, we will offer physical and material services that go hand-in-hand with traditional and contemporary notions of what “library” means. Partnering with complimentary disciplines, we can serve each aspect of the information cycle: creation, description, organization, dissemination, and preservation.