Browsing Collections

All the collections in the portal are arranged alphabetically by name on the portal’s front page. Click on a collection title or image to go to the collection page.

On the collection page, click on a narrator’s name to access the interview. Or, to access the collection’s finding aid, click on the link at the end of the collection description.

Due to access restrictions, not all interviews in a collection are available online. Users can review a collection’s finding aid for a comprehensive list of all interviews, including those that are available onsite only at Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library.

Searching Across All Collections

Click “Search” on the menu bar to search all interviews across all collections.

  • Searches use AND as the default connector between words (e.g., a search for Nostrand Avenue will return interview records wherein the words Nostrand and Avenue appear anywhere in the record).
  • To search for a specific phrase, put the phrase within quotes (e.g., “Nostrand Avenue”).
  • Searches are not case sensitive.

Accessing Interview Description, Transcript, & Finding Aid

Each interview’s description and cataloging information can be found at the end of the interview page. Click the green “Interview description & cataloging information” bar at the bottom of the browsing window to scroll to the end of the page automatically. There, users will find the interview’s description, citation format, subject headings (people, topics, and places), a downloadable copy of the transcript (where available), and a link to the collection finding aid.

Listening to Interview

Use the audio player controls to listen to the interview. “-15” and “+15” allow the user to rewind or forward the interview audio in fifteen-second increments.

To access the specific moment of an interview’s audio that corresponds with a point in the transcript, find and click the nearest green time code located to the left of the transcript’s text.

To listen to the specific indexed segment of an interview, click on the segment title, and click “Play segment.”

The index feature also provides a direct segment link for users wishing to link back to the specific segment.

Searching within Interview

To search the transcript or indexed segment titles within an interview, enter the search term in the search box to the right of the transcript or index that states “Search Transcript” or “Search Index,” respectively. Click on the search result to be taken to that specific location in the interview transcript or index.

  • Searches do not use AND or OR connectors between words.
  • Searches will return results for the exact phrase as entered, inclusive of any punctuation (e.g., a search for Nostrand Avenue will return results only for the specific phrase Nostrand Avenue, while a search for “Nostrand Avenue” (with quotes) will return results only where the phrase “Nostrand Avenue” appears in quotes in the transcript or index).
  • Searches are not case-sensitive.

In order to optimize the site’s functionality for mobile platforms, the interview-level search feature is available only on desktop computers and on tablets in landscape orientation.