December 20, 2011

Stories Matter Oral History Database

Stories Matter

The Social Voice Project is now using the specialized oral history database--Stories Matter--to fully document and manage our life story projects.

Created by the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, Stories Matter is a new oral history database tool built for oral historians by oral historians, as an alternative to transcription.

This free, open source software allows for the archiving of digital video and audio materials, enabling oral historians to annotate, analyze, and evaluate materials in their collections.
  • Stories Matter is intended to allow oral historians and other interested communities to interact with audio and video recordings of interviews in a way that emphasizes individual interviewees as central to stories being narrated.
  • In addition to interacting with whole sessions, users will be able to create clips according to personal criteria, and then create personalized playlists of clips that speak to specific themes.
  • A convenient search tool allows users to locate clips, sessions, interviews, and projects that speak to their particular interests. Users can export the results of their work in several different formats for easy use in presentations, and website design. Finally, a new feature of Stories Matter, Phase II is online functionality, which allows multiple users to collaborate on building a single database according to their assigned user roles.
  • The project is being developed in two phases and will provide online (large scale, collaborative) and offline (small scale, local) versions of the software that will operate in both French and English. The core team is comprised of Canada’s Research Chair in Public History, Steve High, two embedded oral historians, Stacey Zembrzycki and Kristen (Krissy) O’Hare, and a software developer, Jacques Langlois.
TSVP Stories Matter database screenshot
"We are pleased to have found a very effective and useful tool for managing our life story projects," said Kevin Farkas, founder and director of The Social Voice Project.  "We're committed to preserving and archiving our stories for historians and social researchers.  It takes some effort on our part to archive our stories systematically, but the Stores Matter database helps us add a scholarly dimension to our mission."  

In addition to using the Stories Matter database, The Social Voice Project uses the Internet Archive as its official audio archive.