Since we were awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund for our You Are Hear project, we have been able to recruit a new team member to work on digitising some of our unique sound recordings to make them easier to access, and to preserve them for the future.
Name: Catherine Norris
Role: Sound & Video Digitiser
Why did you want to work at ERO?
I have always been interested in historical recordings and how they can be restored and digitised. I love stories and I’ve always liked the idea of oral history interviews because of the stories that people tell, and if they were not recorded then those stories would be lost forever.
I hate the fact that I never recorded my Grandmas talking as both were great storytellers. One told tales of bombs falling during the WWII on the Library where she worked in Liverpool, books flying everywhere and hiding behind the counter. When it was calm she would sit down and have a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake! The other told of how on the night of when she married my Grandad he went off to Burma. She didn’t see him for a long time and spoke about how she coped on her own.
So when I found out that there was a sound archive at ERO and about the You Are Hear project I knew that I wanted to work here, as being able to preserve stories of the past for future generations is a pretty amazing thing to be able to do!
Describe an average day at ERO for you:
Each day really depends on what collection I’m working on. At the moment I am mainly working with Cassette tapes so I have to make sure that my equipment is working properly and is clean. I also have to make sure the tapes are not damaged in any way, because they need to be in a condition where I am able to digitise them.
Digitisation starts with making the best recording I can of a tape which will then become the master copy. Once that is done I create an access copy and make sure that it sounds as best as it can by using processing and software and of course by using my ears!
There is an amount of problem solving and technical analysis to my day which probably sounds really boring, but I love doing it because I know that I am giving each piece of audio the chance to sound as good as it can.
What do you do when you’re not at ERO?
I am a big music lover so I do spend a lot of time collecting and listening to records. I also enjoy spending time going to gigs and watching films. Most of my time though is spent being a mum to my 10 year old daughter who keeps me very busy!
Can you tell us about an interesting document you have come across while at ERO?
I’ve enjoyed working on a collection about Harlow New Town where residents were recorded for an oral history project to talk about their memories of moving to their new houses post WWII.
I found the collection really interesting because it’s a very diverse collection of stories and memories. Each of the residents had different backgrounds and had come from different ways of life before moving there.
You can listen to some of the recordings that we have digitised so far on our SoundCloud page.