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Oral History And Language Lab

The Oral History and Language Laboratory (OHLL) is part of the Audrey & Harry Hawthorn Library & Archives Department at the Museum of Anthropology. The OHLL is a media recording, digitization and editing facility. It provides technical services, support and consultation in the areas of media recording, digitization and preservation. These services support language, oral history and material culture research, and are provided to members of the UBC Faculty of Arts, and to both UBC and community project partners.


The OHLL can facilitate onsite media recordings, based upon research requirements. For interviews and linguistic recording sessions, a small, acoustically managed sound-booth is available. The sound booth is equipped with two microphones and is appropriate for groups of up to four persons at a given time. It is also equipped with camera mounts for video recording interviews with associated materials.The sound booth is adjacent to a room where researchers and knowledge bearers may interact with objects and then utilize the booth for associated recording.

Recordings can be performed with the assistance of an OHLL recording technician or researchers can use their own portable recording device, if preferred. The OHLL also has a number of portable recorders available for use.

Object Visit Documentation

The Museum of Anthropology has a number of spaces where object-based research can occur. Arrangements for object access are made through Collections. The OHLL can assist in the documentation of these sessions via audio and/or video recording.


Consultation services in the areas of analog audio/video to digital format conversion are available and limited digitization services for a variety of formats can be provided. The OHLL provides technical assistance in the development of recording and digitization workflows as well as digital media preservation strategies.

A process for digitizing audio cassette tapes was developed as part of the Indigitization project. The Indigitization Toolkit provides step-by-step procedures based on a specific set of equipment and software (See Section D1: Audio cassette tape). The manual Toolkit also covers project planning and additional support for the digitization and management of cultural materials by First Nations communities and groups.

The Oral History & Language Lab is located in the Museum in Room 219B adjacent to the Harry & Audrey Hawthorn Library & Archives (Room 221) Access to the Oral History & Language Lab is always by appointment with the OHLL Coordinator.