The Collection

To view the Collection click on Interviews

The Memory of the Twentieth Century is a virtual collection of life story interviews (hereafter: Collection) that was founded in 2011, and which tries to make the results of Hungarian oral history researches available to a wider public.

The Collection sets kind of an example for what oral history interview collection and the making of new interviews can look like with the use of the information technology tools of the 21st century.

Oral history interviews have been conducted in Hungary for several decades, and even though it is difficult to estimate the number of life and thematic interviews, there are probably several thousand of them. These interviews, however are difficult to access, if at all possible. Until recently it had not been possible to read original interviews in full length.

We want to make all our Collection available from anywhere in the world, directly from people’s homes – thus making it accessible to a wider audience of researchers and the general public.

We also want to make our Collection bilingual. Hungarian is not a widely understood language, there are only 16 million people who speak it – incomparably fewer than English, for example. Thus interviews in Hungarian are a tight and locked segment in the international world of oral history. Due to the technique applied, the full interviews cannot be bilingual, but the abstracts and other accessories can. Making the abstracts and accessories available in English as well as Hungarian, a wider public can take note of the existence of the Collection, the content and specialty of the interviews.

The English translation of the abstracts and index can make the Collection useful for foreign researchers, and if they find something of special interest, they can have whole interviews or excerpts from them translated into their language.

The Structure of the website

The Collection

This page introduces readers to the method of oral history, and explains how to conduct interviews in this manner.

This is where you find the actual interviews – you can see the names, photos and short biographies of the Interviewees.

You can view the following documents by clicking on the name of a person:

  • Abstract of the Interview – a summary of the interview which will help you know more about the events referred to. The numbers indicate which page of the interview describes the given events.
  • Excerpts of the Interview – These are quotes from the full length interview that are made public, to draw you into the world of the interviews themselves
  • Full interview – You will find information about how to register to the website through which you can access the interviews
  • Index of Events – To help readers navigate amongst the events mentioned in the interviews.
  • Gallery – This is where you can view the photos of the interview.
  • Documents – This is where you can view other documents of the interview.

Search by Name
Or Aggregated Search for Name helps you navigate within the whole Collection. It tells you where and how often a given person was mentioned.

Index of Events
Or Aggregated Index of Events to help readers navigate amongst the events mentioned in all the interviews of the Collection.

The Photo Gallery of the Collection gathers all the photos of all interviews.

Further Plans of the Collection

The website is at an experimental stage at the moment: there are only three sample interviews made available.

However, the Collection does not consist of three interviews only. There are thousands of pages of several dozens of interviews that in the past had only partially made available for research – if at all. We are searching for sponsors who would help us process and upload these documents.

Apart from publishing other existing interviews, the founders of the Collection would like to see more interviews made on a continuous basis.

The Collection would also be happy to publish other interviews that are kept elsewhere, no matter what their original language might be.

Apart from interviews, the Collection would be happy to host other collections of photos, documents, databases or results of relevant research.