Welcome to the HistoryMakers Media Archive

Entrance Button to The HistoryMakers Digital Archive

Collaboration between The HistoryMakers and Carnegie Mellon University Informedia Project

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive of 356 African American video oral history interviews is available online for the first time on a test basis to registered users. This archive includes 16243 stories from over 833 hours of video.

Founded in July of 1999, The HistoryMakers has grown into the nation's largest African American video oral history archive. Its collection includes the interviews of President Barack Obama (then an Illinois State Senator), civil rights leader Julian Bond, and children's advocate Marian Wright Edelman, to name a few.

The interface is being iteratively developed and refined, beginning with a strong foundation of work from the NSF-funded digital video library work that has taken place at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) under the Informedia research team. The active collaboration of The HistoryMakers and its executive director Julieanna Richardson with CMU makes this work possible. 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) in the summer of 2007 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 goal of NSF Grant No. IIS-0705491 was to share Informedia processing capabilities and interfaces especially suitable for video oral history collections as open source, for the benefit of other video collection holders and users. The work was presented at the annual Oral History Association (OHA) meetings in 2008, 2010, and 2011, and will be presented again at the OHA Meeting in October, 2012.

On the CMU path to this goal of openly sharing systems, software, and interfaces into digital video libraries, we are beta-testing features with The HistoryMakers as well as other oral history collections. For a roadmap of our past research work and publications, please consult the Foundation Work page.