The Living History program is an innovative interview platform, oral history archive and media lab. We’re researching and creating new ways to use recorded interviews as tools for investigating, understanding and narrating current events and issues.
Over four decades, the Living History program has conducted interviews with public figures and participants in social change. Part of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, we believe that in-depth recorded interviews offer unique and powerful insights into people and events.
In order to unlock that value, we’re developing more effective ways to manage and mine interview contents. Our goal is to make interviews a richer, more practical ingredient in the work of journalists, academics and others. Our system, called InSite, relies on standards and open-source software to provide an inexpensive, easy-to-reproduce publishing platform.
This website implements InSite’s features for organizing, navigating, annotating and sharing audio and text. We’ve connected video and transcripts to enable rapid browsing of long interviews. You can explore documents, photographs and other supporting material linked to the interview. And you can clip and share portions of the interviews.
You’ll find a variety of material on this site: interviews from our archive dating back to the 1970s; collections of interviews organized around a theme or subject; and interactive timelines based on interviews.
Following the InSite system, journalists can conduct and use interview material more easily and inexpensively, including sharing interviews with audiences. We’ve posted our research, which details the lnSite system and provides a roadmap for making interviews easier and more accessible.
The Living History program was founded more than 40 years ago with the support of Jay Rutherfurd, who envisioned creating an “audio-visual history program” that would collect and preserve conversations with leading figures in current events.
Philip Bennett is the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy and director of the Rutherfurd Living History Program. He is the former managing editor of The Washington Post and of the PBS documentary series FRONTLINE.
Katie Jane Fernelius
Katie Jane Fernelius is the research and program director for the Rutherfurd Living History Program. She is a writer and documentarian based in Durham.
Kimberly Patch is lead researcher for the Rutherfurd Living History Program. She is a user interface expert, writer, editor, software developer, and musician. She is founder of Redstart Systems, a company that develops speech interface products.
David Graham is a research fellow with the Rutherfurd Living History Program. He is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers U.S. politics and global news.
Mary Coyne is a Duke undergraduate and researcher for the project. She is majoring in public policy with a certificate in both policy journalism & media Studies and documentary studies.
Alan Ko is a Duke undergraduate and researcher for the project. He is a junior in Trinity, majoring in history and minoring in environmental science & policy. Outside of the Rutherford lab he chairs the editorial board for the Chronicle and works at the library.