Tuesday, April 21, 2009


StoryCorps is an organization that records people's interviews with one another--family members or friends can come to a StoryCorps booth and get a CD-quality recording of their talk, and these interviews go into an archive at the Smithsonian Institute. The organization's website has a collection of clips available here. Most of the clips are "human interest" stories, but some record people's memories of things like the Holocaust or the Bath School disaster (a school bombing in Michigan in 1922), which might be of interest to historians.

While not a formal digital collection, these clips are still available publically for people to access and possibly use as a research resource, or simply for enjoyment. As a result, there isn't much useful metadata, although I am glad to say there is at least some--the website records the interviewer and interviewee, a short summary, and where the audio was recorded; on occasion, it records the organization that StoryCorps partnered with to collect the interview. It might be a better resource with more detailed metadata or if full interviews were made available, but some of the interviews might be sensitive or too personal in nature for the people involved to be okay with releasing them publicly (even though they're going to a national archive, but oh well). Obviously, this isn't a project meant for scholars, but for laypeople.

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