Timeline: March 2017 - February 2018
The Houston Asian American Archive (HAAA) is an oral history project that collects life stories and preserves memorabilia from the Asian American community in Houston, Texas. The project involves a broad range collaboration among community members, students, archivists and faculty. Since its inception in 2009, HAAA has received great support from the Houston community, and serves as an example of how Rice University can move beyond the proverbial “hedges” to interact with the community. Participants are extremely proud of having their life experiences recorded and shared for posterity, and have donated memorabilia and personal papers to the collection as well. While similar archives exist on the East and West coasts of the country, such a research oriented oral history archive has not been established in the Southwest region. Most importantly, HAAA serves to recover the narrative of Asian American contribution to the histories of Houston, of Texas, of the South, and of labor and economics of our country.
Currently we are designing a new webpage and have created a short video about the project. Our interns are busy cleaning and indexing every one of the 145 or so transcripts with OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer). Much work remains to be done: We need to develop a strategic plan for the archive. We plan to increase public awareness and usage of the archive, and to establish a presence in social media. We aim to keep up with the best practices in the field of oral history by attending conferences and inviting experts to Rice for consultation. We encourage scholarly research based on our interviews, including the use of computational technology for text-mining and concept mapping. We look for collaboration with outside institutions, such as the Houston Public Library. Ultimately we aim to serve as the Southwest hub for Asian American oral history, and to link up in a network with similar archives on both coasts.