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Collections >> Highlights >> Hearing History: DocSouth Collection Features Selected Interviews from the Southern Oral History Program
Hearing History: DocSouth Collection Features Selected Interviews from the Southern Oral History Program

Documenting the American South is pleased to announce the launch of its newest collection, "Oral Histories of the American South," a sampling of unique interviews from the Southern Oral History Program (SOHP). This new DocSouth collection currently includes 21 oral histories, selected from over 3,100 SOHP interviews held by the Southern Historical Collection in UNC's Wilson Library. This selection focuses on three significant environmental transformations in North Carolina over the period of 1985-2000: the Cane Creek Controversy in Orange County, the extension of Interstate 26 through Madison County, and the flooding from Hurricane Floyd in the eastern part of the state.

This pilot project was made possible by funding from the UNC Library. Thanks to a recent award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and UNC Library funding, DocSouth will add 500 oral history interviews to this collection over the next three years (2005-2008). The Library will work closely with the SOHP and the Center for the Study of the American South to select interviews that offer unique, personal insights into issues, events, and political struggles, such as the civil rights and women's rights movements.

"Oral Histories of the American South" employs a number of open-source technologies to deliver compelling oral histories on the Web. The "Listen Online with Text Transcript" page allows users to listen and read the interview on the same page. A built-in media player on this page enables users to stop and start the audio and play shorter segments while reading the full text transcript also available on the same page. Notes and summaries written by historians about interview segments provide historical background about events and people mentioned by interviewees.

The collection is an experimental effort to present audio and text transcripts for oral histories in a flexible and synchronized Web interface. Our current design is still under development, and we ask our user community to help us identify problems and work with us to improve this initial effort. Through further development, we hope to offer improved access to oral histories.

DocSouth staff