I had the privilege of participating in an advisory summit for StoryCorps today — it was a fantastic conversation about the possibilities an innovative oral history archive might fulfill in the shifting media and research landscapes. You may have heard some of StoryCorps inspiring content in edited form on NPR. What people may not realize is that each interview is 40 minutes long, and to date there are 41,000+ recorded stories in the database. That makes StoryCorps an audio repository of singular importance, and not just from a content perspective. It’s both a corpus of speech data spanning geography and demographics of immeasurable interest to linguists and computer scientists, and it’s a source of reference material that I think warrants mention in the same breath as NYT or Wikipedia. The trick, of course, is making that content accessible — there is currently no externally exposed search capabilities, let alone a programmatic interface that would make mash-ups with NYT or NYPL or innovative apps readily possible (my personal priority was to push deep linking of audio segments with canonical urls, to enable StoryCorps references in things like Wikipedia articles). All that is going to change as their amazing team plans the future of the platform. They are looking for ideas and collaborators, so get in touch.

image credit WXXI.org

→ 2012-04-30