‘In The First Person’ provides index to 17,000 oral histories

Posted on 24/05/2011 by


In the First Person is a free index of close to 4,000 collections of personal narratives in English from around the world, including 17,000 oral histories.

According the creators of the site, Alexander Street, it lets you keyword search more than 700,000 pages of full-text by more than 18,000 individuals from all walks of life. It also contains pointers to some 4,300 audio and video files and 30,000 bibliographic records. The index contains approximately 20,500 months of diary entries, 63,000 letter entries, and, of particular interest is the whopping 17,000 oral history entries.

Some materials are still in copyright, and so for those readers require a subscription but most of the site is free. It is heavily US-orientated in content but the ability to search places, historical events as well as other keywords will be invaluable to those who wish to make use (reuse!) of existing oral histories.

As well as oral histories, the site offers an index to other historical sources, such as letters, diaries, memoirs, and autobiographies within Alexander Street Press databases, who say that database contains “more than one million pages of editorially selected materials spanning 400 years”.

In the First Person is online now at http://www.inthefirstperson.com