Toolbox

Here are some recommended and reliable resources and tools for oral histories and interviews. Also check out the blog category “Tools” for more detailed “how-to” posts!

Want to recommend a tool? Email Jane Field (janerogersfield@gmail.com) with your suggestion. Thanks!

  • The StoryCorps app and StoryCorps.me are simple, intuitive tools for planning and conducting oral histories. The app is free to download to any smartphone and the same content can be accessed online. Through this app you can browse interview tips, prepare question lists, set time limits, use timestamps to mark important events in a live interview, document interviewee consent, and create excerpts of your recording.
  • SoundCloud is a free online tool and phone app that can be used to stream sound files in many standard formats. Some of the unique features of this tool include mid-recording annotations or commentary and linking to associated geographic locations.
  • Express Scribe & Transcribe are two freely available transcription aids. They offer many of the same services —  for example, variable playback speed and the ability to use “hot keys” to control audio. Express Scribe is entirely free, but requires a download. Transcribe offers a free trial period that would likely be sufficient for student use, and it is accessible through a web browser. [Note: Remember, [True] Stories offers full-service transcription at no cost to participants. Just contact Jane or Rachel for more information about that option!]
  • Voyant is a great way for students to dip their toes into the burgeoning field of digital humanities. Once your interview has been transcribed, Voyant Text Analysis can create word clouds, scatter plots of word uses, and other data visualizations using the text of your interviews as a corpus. A fun tool to experiment with!
  • The Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (created by historians!) is an open source platform for viewing oral histories alongside helpful metadata like segment synopses, keywords, subject themes, and unique links. Read our Blog Post about OHMS here!