The Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling is currently developing a new oral history database tool, entitled Stories Matter. This free, open source software is being built for oral historians by oral historians. It will allow for the archiving of digital video and audio materials, enabling oral historians to annotate, analyze, and evaluate materials in their collections. In addition to containing an offline version, the software will have an online version that will facilitate sharing and collaboration in the discipline. Both versions of Stories Matter will operate in English and French, and will have the capacity to support other languages at a later date. This software will be launched in early 2009.
While Stories Matter promises to change the ways that we think about and do oral history, it also offers a unique glimpse into the interdisciplinary process of creating digital technologies. The project team is directed by Dr. Steven High, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Public History, and it is being led by a computer programmer, Jacques Langlois. Two oral historians, Dr. Stacey Zembrzycki and Kristen O’Hare, are also embedded in the development process, consulting with High and Langlois on every aspect of the project. Those interested in this exciting project may monitor its progress, development, and implementation through this blog: http://storytelling.concordia.ca/storiesmatter/.
At this stage, we are soliciting feedback to ensure that Stories Matter will meet the needs of the widest possible audience; it must be relevant and user-friendly. We welcome any comments, suggestions, and questions that you may have; please feel free to forward this information to others who may also be interested in this project.
We hope that Stories Matter will inspire a great deal of discussion on this blog. We look forward to hearing from you.
Steven High, Jacques Langlois, Kristen O’Hare, and Stacey Zembrzycki
*The Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (http://storytelling.concordia.ca/) is housed at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This development project is being generously supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).