Introducing Stories Matter: Open Source Database Building Software

Introducing Stories Matter: Open Source Database Building Software


After nearly a year of interdisciplinary collaboration among affiliates of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, the first phase of Stories Matter is complete. In its current state, Stories Matter is free, open source software that is compatible with Macintosh and PC operating systems. It allows for the archiving of digital video and audio materials, enabling users to annotate, analyze, evaluate and export materials, as well as tag, index, search, and browse within interviews, sessions, and clips or across entire collections.


We have been successful in creating what we believe is an extremely convenient and intuitive software that will inspire oral historians to continue listening to their interviews long after the interviews themselves are completed. While Stories Matter may not replace transcription for many oral historians, it will undoubtedly compliment it due to its ability to allow users to create convenient video and audio clips for research purposes and integrate them into such presentation software as PowerPoint. Furthermore, we believe users will be impressed by the software’s ability to preserve important forms of communication typically lost in transcription, including changes in tone, volume, rhythm, and body language, allowing for more nuanced analysis.


Thus, we invite you to visit the new Stories Matter website at where you can download the software and begin using it locally to build a database or series of databases from your personal collection of interviews. The Stories Matter Instructional Manual is embedded the software, and can be downloaded to your desktop by selecting the appropriate option from the Help Menu.


And continue following the Stories Matter blog for updates on the development of Phase II of Stories Matter, which will begin on July 15th.  Its purpose is to enable increased collaboration among oral historians by providing an intuitive online database tool that can assist group projects and encourage public engagement. Phase II of Stories Matter is scheduled to be completed in December of 2009, with a public launch to follow shortly thereafter.

Erin Jessee, PhD Candidate
Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling
Concordia University
Montreal QC