Help searching oral histories

Help with searching

You can search the index by name, topic, place or event to find interviews relevant to your research.

The oral history search looks for the keywords that you type in the search box to find oral history documents containing these keywords. You will be able to search through the oral history interview abstracts, which include summary and content listings for the interviews.

Searching for oral histories for a particular date or time range isn’t possible. The subjects discussed in an oral history interview generally span a long period of time. The content listings of the interviews don’t specify dates.

When you want to broaden search results use synonyms or alternate expressions that other people may use.

Some events or terms may be notated in several different ways, for example: WWII, WW2 or Second World War. You can search for either term in this way:

WWII OR WW2 OR second world war. See also Advanced Searching below.

You can put multiple search terms in. The order of the terms in the query has no effect on the search results. An exception to this is when you use a phrase search with quotation marks. See also Advanced Searching below.

When searching a word, for example performance, other same root words such as perform, performs, performed, and performing are also searched. However, documents containing the exact searched term are ranked higher in the search results list.

Sometimes the search index will suggest spelling corrections or automatically correct misspelled terms before launching the search. In both cases, a message appears at the top of the search results to indicate what was done with a misspelled term.

For more detailed assistance with searching, see Advanced Searching below or refer to online help information provided by Coveo: https://onlinehelp.coveo.com/en/ces/7.0/user/basic_search.htm

Advanced searching

You can search for multiple search terms in various ways. You can go to the Advanced Search screen in the Keywords section. Alternatively you can search for multiple terms in the search box:

  1. containing both term1 and term2: term1 term 2
  2. containing either term1 or term2: term1 OR term2
  3. containing term1 but not term2: term1 NOT term2
  4. both term1 and term2 in close proximity such as within 5 words:  term1 NEAR:5 term2
  5. for a phrase, containing exactly the phrase between double-quotes: “phrase”

You can use wildcards to substitute for unknown variations in your search term. The asterisk character (*) can be used to find variations on the ending of a search term, eg micro*. The question mark (?) may be used in the middle of a search term, eg te?t.

You can modify your search preferences, for example how many results display per page. Go to the Preferences screen.

For more detailed assistance with searching, refer to online help information provided by Coveo: https://onlinehelp.coveo.com/en/ces/7.0/user/more_advanced_search.htm

Understanding search results

The search results will display the interview abstracts which have the most occurrences of the search term first.

Quick view

By clicking on a blue interviewee name in the list of results, you can view the results in Quick View. This allows you to move through the different search results by selecting previous and next on the right hand side of the menu bar (see below). You can find the search term within each interview abstract by selecting the highlighted search term on the left side of the menu bar. Continue to click on the search term to see all of the occurrences within the interview abstract.

Close the Quick View by selecting the X at the top right when you’re ready to conduct another search. If you want to view the interview abstract document in Word format, click on Open (see above).

example quick view 

Reading transcripts

Many oral history interviews have been transcribed. You can access oral history transcripts in the reading rooms at the Northern Territory Archives Service in Darwin or Alice Springs. If the interview hasn’t been transcribed you may be able to listen to the audio recording instead.

You will need to organise a time to visit one of the reading rooms and provide staff with the reference number and interviewee name for the interview transcripts that you want to read. For example: Peter MILLER, NTRS 226 TS 438. These details are found on the search results screen and in the abstract documents.

There are restrictions to accessing some oral history interviews because of access conditions set by the interviewee. Most oral histories are open for research. Some may have restrictions placed on their access until a given time, or in some cases the interviewee's written permission is needed to access the archives. In this case reference staff will help you.

Contact the NTAS before visiting to make sure you can access the records you need. If you can’t visit the Reading Rooms, you can order a copy.

Listening to audio

You can listen to the audio recordings of oral history interviews in the reading rooms at the NTAS in Darwin or Alice Springs.

You will need to organise a time to visit one of the reading rooms and provide staff with the reference number and interviewee name for the interview that you want to listen to. For example: Roger MAYER, NTRS 3164 BWF 177 or Peter MILLER, NTRS 226 TS 438. These details are found on the search results screen and in the abstract documents.

There are restrictions to accessing some oral history interviews because of access conditions set by the interviewee. Most oral histories are open for research. Some may have restrictions placed on their access until a given time, or in some cases the interviewee's written permission is needed to access the archives. In this case reference staff will help you.

Contact the NTAS before visiting to make sure you can access the records you need. If you can’t visit the reading rooms, contact reference staff.

Ordering a copy of an oral history

Copying of oral histories is subject to conditions of access and provisions relating to copyright.

Transcripts can be copied in whole or part as photocopies or PDF documents. Refer to our information leaflet for Reproduction Fees. You can ask for a quote before placing your order. Contact us for an order form and to discuss your requirements.

You can order extracts of the oral history interview in audio format. You will need to select the extract start and finish time by listening to the audio in our Reading Room. Full audio copies of interviews are not usually provided. Audio can be provided in MP3 or BWF (Broadcast Wave File) format. Contact us to discuss your requirements. Refer to our information leaflet for Reproduction Fees.

If you want to use an oral history interview publicly, for example a broadcast, an exhibition or a presentation, you will need to seek permission to publish from the Northern Territory Archives Service and agree to cite the interview. To get permission to publish copies of archival items held in our collection please submit an Application for permission to publish form (126.5 kb). For more information read our Citing Archives information leaflet.

More information

For more information about the Northern Territory Archives Service oral history interview collection, visit our website or view our information leaflet .

Contact us

If you would like to explore the collections further contact the reference staff at the NTAS

The NTAS aims to provide a quality service so we appreciate any feedback about our services. Feedback can be provided by email to ntac@nt.gov.au or can be provided in the comments box at the NTAS.

Last updated: 27 June 2016