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Historical Voices

Preserving and Displaying Our Cultural Heritage

A substantial portion of our cultural heritage from the 20th century is recorded in enormous collections of spoken-word materials. Yet much of it may be lost or remain hidden away in archives and private collections, making the voices inaccessible to students, teachers, scholars, and the general public. The purpose of Historical Voices is to create a significant, fully searchable online database of spoken word collections spanning the 20th century - the first large-scale repository of its kind. Historical Voices will both provide storage for these digital holdings and display public galleries that cover a variety of interests and topics.

The primary goals of Historical Voices are to develop both a rich set of exhibits and educational curricula that fully incorporate sound files. To accomplish these goals, Historical Voices will

  • Determine Best Practices in Digital Sound Digitization;
  • Develop a Digital Archive Structure for Multimedia Materials;
  • Work with Key Institutions to develop a Robust Metadata Format;
  • Research Aural Perception to Maximize Student Comprehension;
  • Develop Tools to Create and Deliver Multimedia Presentations (linked sound and transcripts);
  • Develop Alternative Delivery Web Interfaces to Facilitate Diverse Users and Needs;
  • Build Federated Archives and Trans-Institutional Resources.

Designed as an expansive repository of aural resources, Historical Voices will grow to include many more collections from partnering institutions around the country.