Oral Histories Online: How long are people watching?

Elspeth H. Brown's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I am looking for scholarly studies/literature that provides some evidence around how long visitors to digitized oral history collections spend viewing/listening full-length interviews online. I have not been able to find anything about this. Chances are there is data, but I'm not sure anyone has ever written it up. We spend all this time putting materials online to make them “accessible to the public,” but I wonder how much actual engagement there is from said public. Getting a better sense of how long people spend watching/viewing will help me make some decisions on how I spend my time in terms of research creation, etc.

Any recommendations around this theme would be greatly appreciated!

Elspeth Brown
University of Toronto

I suspect others will have a solution more quickly, but I asked our marketing team this morning about this as I'm curious too. Our interviews are searchable by all manner of keywords and cataloguing info on our website, but we currently have to use YouTube as a means of delivering the videos. Our marketing folks create quarterly reports that include the five top videos (in terms of views); a daily report of new views, new likes, and new shares; and quantities of new subscribers and how many comments. They said they would see about reports in deeper detail that would include the amount of time spent viewing. I can certainly contact you directly with that info if they're able to figure it out.

Great question, though--thank you for posting!

Sue VerHoef
Director of Oral History and Genealogy
Atlanta History Center