The main activity of the Annual Meeting for historians has changed little since it was invented at the end of the nineteenth century. Now, as then, historians gather to read prepared papers to one another. For years, people have tried to change this practice.
Edward L. Ayers, 2018 OAH President
The OAH Amplified Initiative, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was launched at the Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California, April 12–14, 2018. The aim of the project was to amplify the content presented within the confines of the conference rooms to a wider audience. The OAH, with permission from presenters, recorded the audio for all sessions (sessions in which presenters declined the release or where releases were not signed were not recorded). The OAH then partnered with the American Association for State and Local History, H-Net, National Council for History Education, National Council for Public History, National Humanities Center, and the Oral History Association to produce projects from the resulting audio files and additional video interviews that were recorded at the conference. The projects undertaken by partner organizations are not yet complete, however, OAH members can now listen to and watch content from the 2018 OAH Annual Meeting online.
Whether you missed a session, were unable to attend, or want to revisit a session you enjoyed, you can now explore it all at your leisure. Our post-conference surveys show that attendees attend an average of four to six sessions per conference. The 2018 OAH Annual Meeting had a total of 224 sessions meaning most attendees missed about 98 percent of the content! Your OAH membership gives you the opportunity to access all available content simply by logging in to the OAH User Portal and clicking on the link for the Amplified Initiative. This link will take you to the Pathwright platform where, once you have created an account, you will have access to the entire OAH Library from the 2018 meeting. Inside the Library you have the opportunity to search for sessions by name, or browse sessions by category, period, or speaker. [Figure 1]
Within each session, you will find an abstract and a list of participants. If you would like to hear the audio of the session, read paper abstracts (if applicable), or watch any supplemental interviews, click on the “Preview” button. Audio files and abstracts can be explored from this page [Figure 2].
If the session contains a video component, click on the video and select “Take a Course” to view. Sessions with multiple paper presentations have an audio file for the entire session, as well as smaller audio files for each speaker. (If there is no file for an individual, it indicates that either they were unable to attend or the recording was corrupted.) For those who would like more in-depth interaction, you can click on the “Community” button to start conversations and discussions with your fellow OAH members. Once you have finished exploring the session, click on the “Menu” icon on the top left of your screen to return to the Library. You can also return to the sessions you previously explored by clicking on the “Learning” button.
We encourage OAH members to delve into content produced through the Amplified Initiative and explore the wide-ranging content offered at the Annual Meeting that you may have missed.