The StoryCorps Archive comprises one of the largest born-digital collections of human voices, featuring conversations recorded across the United States and around the world. It includes all public conversations recorded by users of the StoryCorps App and StoryCorps Connect, in addition to a growing collection of interviews recorded by StoryCorps with our Mobile Tour, StoryBooths, and other projects and locations. This guide provides some tips and best practices from StoryCorps’ archivists on searching for interviews in the Online Archive.
Acces More Interviews with an Archive Account
To get started, we suggest you create a new account for free in the Online Archive. This will increase the number of interviews you’ll be able to listen to because our participants can select different privacy settings . Without creating an account, you will only be able to listen to fully public interviews.
If you search the word graduation, for example, you will have access to 4,112 public interviews, but if you log in to your Online Archive account, you will have access to 10,000.
You can search for interviews by typing a term or phrase into the search box, as with graduation above. When using the basic search, only words and phrases included in the interview’s title, description, or transcript will appear in your results. Additionally, you won’t be able to search for interviews by participant name unless it is included in the interview’s title or description. If you are searching for a phrase, use quotations around the entire phrase, as with “first job” shown here.
Refine Your Search
The example of “first job” returns 4,913 interviews, which is a lot! You can use the Refine options on the left side of the webpage to refine those results using the following categories:
- Date Range filters interviews outside of a selected date range.
- Recorded by filters interviews recorded by StoryCorps (Signature interviews) from those recorded by users (StoryCorps App or StoryCorps Connect interviews).
- Keywords filters search results based on the keywords the interviews were tagged with when uploaded to archive.storycorps.org.
- Organizations filters interviews that were tagged by users with an organization.
- Places filters interviews based on the recording location and locations referenced in the interview.
- Languages filters interviews based on the language(s) used during the interview.
- Initiatives filters Signature interviews recorded as part of a StoryCorps Initiative (for example, interviews recorded as part of our One Small Step initiative or our Military Voices Initiative).
You can also choose more than one option in a Refine category. If you want to choose two keywords, choose your first keyword and allow the search results to update. Once the results have updated, choose the second keyword and your search results will update again showing you only interviews that include both of those keywords.
If you don’t see what you’re looking for on the short list under one of the categories, there may be more options available. Click on the ### MORE >, and a new box will pop up with all available options. You can search within that list or scroll through it and choose what you’re looking for. Once you’ve made your selection, hit “Update Query” in the bottom right corner.
At any time, you can clear your choices from each category. Your choices in the other categories will remain. If you want to clear your entire search and start a new search for interviews, click “Clear” above the search box.
Customize Your Results View
You can adjust how the results of your search are presented to you using options just below the search bar and above the results. You can change how many items, or interviews, display per page. You can also sort your results by oldest or newest or relevance to your original search term and any refining you do.