I found the digital repository “Recorded Sound Research Center” hosted by the Library of Congress fascinating. You can evaluate it for yourself here: Historical Recordings.
The site offers historical recordings spanning back to the civil war. There are narratives by Holocaust victims and World War I & II veterans. Its a preservation of spoken history that without the diligent service of the historians who gathered these recordings, we would only have text versions of these amazing accounts of history. As my title references, to me, it was like listening to ghosts whispering about the lives they lived and getting to experience the voice of people long gone. The design is easy to use and if you are looking for specific topics you can search just as you would most library databases. The only troubling thing is that doesn’t comprise the full archive of historical recordings. This would be nice to have access to if one really wanted to delve into a particular topic and listen to everything there was to hear. I particularly enjoyed exploring the slave narratives because the tone and context of those personal accounts can be completely lost if simply transcribed. The level of emotion contained in the tone and vernacular of an individual can be lost if an interview is simply conducted and written down with pen and ink. I am happy to know that this repository exists as, before this assignment, it never occurred to me that beyond watching a documentary, I would be able to access this kind of history on my own.