Announcing the Launch of the Stories Matter (Offline/Online) Database Tool - a New Media Alternative to Oral History Transcription
Michael Frisch has recently written that the “deep dark secret” of oral history, is that we don’t really know what to do with the orality of the source. In transcribing our interviews, we lose the orality almost immediately thus shoring the narratives of much of their meaning. A new media application now offers oral historians an alternative to transcription (available at http://storytelling.concordia.ca/storiesmatter/).
On behalf of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, I would like to announce the completion of the second phase in the development of an easy-to-use open source oral history database software called “Stories Matter.” In phase I (completed in May 2009), oral historians could download the software and build oral history databases on their local computers. In phase II (completed in January 2010), the database is now online allowing us to merge databases and access it remotely. Stories Matter allows us to clip, index and export audio and video recordings – and so it represents a real alternative to transcription. It is also free. We have been using the Stories Matter extensively at Concordia for the past six months and are in the process of building a large database for our Life Stories project (www.lifestoriesmontreal.ca ) which is interviewing survivors of war, genocide and other human rights abuses.
The software was created over an 18 month period at Concordia University, with kamicode software of Montreal and BNA-BBOT joining us as partners for the second phase. A third phase, which combines Stories Matter with a DRUPAL web platform, will be launched this spring in Belgium.
We encourage oral historians to test Stories Matter and to send us your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have access to video conference facilities, we would be willing to provide your Oral History Centre, Institute, or Conference with a short 60-minute workshop. We would also be willing to write short stories for your on- or off-line newsletters. Feel free to forward this email to your networks.
Funding came from Concordia University, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs program of the Canadian Government, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. If you are interested in knowing more about how we approached the making of this software “by and for oral historians”, you are invited to visit our blog at http://storytelling.concordia.ca/storiesmatter/ and an article published in Digital Stories available at http://www.digitalstudies.org/ojs/index.php/digital_studies/article/view/173/215 .
Co-director of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling
Director, Stories Matter project.
Dr Steven High
Co-Director of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling
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