JSTOR Helps Expose History
How a New Database is Preserving History by Making Full Interviews Available for Viewing

Interview Archive logo

Published: August 8, 2019 by Kenna Wulker

JSTOR, commonly used by the academic community, is a database storing academic papers and primary sources. They have recently introduced a new prototype database, Interview Archive, which posts full length, uncut interviews from some of the world’s most influential people.

What is Interview Archive?

It all started with a documentary called King in the Wilderness, which chronicles Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life through interviews with his peers and historical storytelling. Hours of interviewing went into making this film - 31 hours to be exact among 19 interviewees. While each of these interviews contains important historical facts and perspectives, they had to be cut down to fit into the documentary. That’s where Interview Archive comes in. Interview Archive allows full length interviews from documentaries and other media to be posted - uncut. While “movie magic” won’t allow an entire interview to be posted in a movie, Interview Archive wanted to make sure that these full length interviews weren’t being lost.

Many documentaries don’t share the full length interviews with the public, but Interview Archive aims to change that narrative. Documentaries can’t possibly utilize all the footage they collection for their film. They often cut out highlights from interviews. However, the full length interview still contains important history and perspectives that should be preserved for the sake of history and education. Hearing the perspective of people who were there to experience this history is so important and is all too often lost.

Not only are the interviews posted in their entirety, but Internet Archive has added tags to each minute of the interview, allowing viewers to explore the people, places, topics and additional items being discussed. The tags are linked to Wikipedia articles that provide background information, as well as JSTOR scholarly articles and other interviews in the Interview Archive with the same topic. This interactive experience allows the views to explore context and expand their knowledge on a given topic.

Where to view?

You can explore the Interview Archive by clicking here. Currently, all 19 full length interviews from King in the Wilderness are posted and ready to view. JSTOR hopes that this prototype database will help them gauge interest in the interviews and grow the database to other films and media.


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