Frequently Asked Questions

Early users of "The HistoryMakers Digital Archive" have asked a number of questions. Here are those questions and answers, i.e., a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list to help you make better use of the Digital Archive.

Is there more data?

Yes, there are thousands of interviews, and the Digital Archive only showcases a subset of them (although this number will grow). The HistoryMakers currently holds many more interviews that those being tested within the "Digital Archive". For details on The HistoryMakers current status, visit The HistoryMakers home page.

If interested in ScienceMakers, go to The HistoryMakers ScienceMakers Digital Archive for the definitive ScienceMakers collection. Note that the ScienceMakers archive highlights only ScienceMakers, with the "HistoryMakers Digital Archive" showcasing a much greater number.

How does one register?

You must be registered in order to use the "HistoryMakers Digital Archive". See The HistoryMakers home page and/or contact You must also be using a supported web browser with cookies enabled for this site, as cookies are used to note that you are a registered user. You must have JavaScript enabled for this site, because JavaScript is used to check what browser you are using, to embed the Flash application in the web page at full 100% size, and to support better browser navigation and bookmarking (via the open source projects SWFObject, SWFAddress, and swffit).

What about my privacy?

Registration is done with https and secure communication channels. Please see The HistoryMakers Digital Archive Privacy Policy.

What are the terms and conditions of use?

Please see The HistoryMakers Digital Archive Terms and Conditions.

Is there help on using the Digital Archive?

Please see The HistoryMakers Digital Archive Video Tutorials for some examples of use.

Are there any publications about the Digital Archive?

Please see The HistoryMakers Digital Archive Foundation Work for further background on the project, including giving credit for our NSF sponsorship.

Who makes this work possible (acknowledgements)?

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, NSF Grant No. IIS-0705491, research project "III-CXT: Enhancing Digital Video Libraries through the Evaluation and Transition of Automated Techniques for Visual Processing, Indexing and Access." It builds from Carnegie Mellon University Informedia Research that received funding from a number of sources over the years. The first collaboration between The HistoryMakers and Informedia was made possible through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, IMLS Grant LG-03-03-0048-03. The online web Digital Archive benefited greatly from a workshop held at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) under the direction of Randforce Associates, in the UB Technology Incubator. This workshop started off a multi-year beta test of a stand-alone .NET oral history interface with the University of Illinois, Drexel University, Carnegie Mellon University, and others. Randforce Associates, led by Michael Frisch, in 2009 contributed to the development of the inferential indexing framework supporting the "Search Tags" capability in The HistoryMakers Digital Archive.


The NSF sponsored work is attempting to create tools and interfaces for digital video libraries using Informedia technology: hence "idvl" for Informedia digital video library" with The HistoryMakers Digital Archive as the archetype for the enhanced accessibility offered through synchronized metadata and full transcript search.

How can I contact someone regarding the archive?

Within the "Digital Archive", there is a Comments button. Please use it to comment on the interface and archive for the record, but these comments are not mined regularly. Should you have other questions or concerns about the Digital Archive, you can send us an email to the following contact address (but we cannot guarantee a timely response due to limited staffing; our hope is to keep updating this FAQ to address the most common queries):

How do I see all of the interview with a particular person in the archive?

Within the introductory page of the "Digital Archive", there is a Table of Contents button. Click on it to show this table, click on a person's name to see a brief description, and click on the provided button to access all of that person's stories in the archive, across different recording days and sessions where applicable. Also of note: You can easily sequence within the same recording session by using the previous and next story buttons on the video player.

How do I properly cite material in the archive for my publications and/or school work?

When using The HistoryMakers interviews, please include the following information for proper citation. The exact format used will vary depending on the citation style chosen (e.g., Chicago, APA, etc.) and whether it appears in footnotes or a bibliography. However, the pieces of information described below should always be included in the first citation to the work (subsequent citations may use an abbreviated format):

<Narrator full name> (The HistoryMakers <unique ID number>), interview by <interviewer full name>, <interview date>, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session <recording session number>, tape <tape number>, story <story order in that tape>, story title. <url (if from the Digital Archive)>

The Digital Archive lists the citation on the video story page (which you can cut and paste elsewhere), and provides an export-button option on the Play List to allow this citation information to be automatically produced for the content in your Play List. An example of the proper citation for one story from the Digital Archive is as follows:

Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe (The HistoryMakers A2001.062), interview by Julieanna Richardson, 6/16/2001, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 1, story 6, Ted Radcliffe recalls his earliest memory as a child and his first job in baseball. <(perhaps a url)>

For placement on an acknowledgement page, please use:

The HistoryMakers is a digital archive of life oral histories relating to the African American experience. Additional information on the project is available at with a Digital Archive fully searchable subset of the full collection posted there.