History Matters Archive


Listening to Audio

The History Matters Archive features extensive audio holdings in addition to its voluminous set of scanned documents. This page provides help in accessing these "audio files."

Locating Audio Segments and Excerpts

Audio clips are contained on special pages in the archive. These pages may be reached in either of two ways:

  1. Navigating to them via the audio icon embedded at various places in the hierarchy of Archive contents pages
  2. Hyperlinking to them directly from an essay or other presentation. This is also usually accompanied in the essay by the audio icon .

Current audio holdings include:

  • Johnson Phone Calls. A selection of Lyndon Johnson recorded phone calls, found under the LBJ Library main contents page.
  • Medical Interviews. Interviews of medical witnesses taken by the House Select Committee on Assassinations in the 1970s, and the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s.
  • CIA Interviews. Interviews of CIA employees and other witnesses relevant to the story of Lee Oswald's sojourn to Mexico City in the fall of 1963.

How to Use the Audio Pages

Audio pages look somewhat similar to Archive contents pages, featuring the same familiar brown sidebar of menu items on the left side of the page. The main content area consists of:

  • Return to Link. A Return to link at top left. This returns to the contents page above this audio page in the Archive hierarchy. If you linked to the audio page from an essay, you need to use the browser Back button to retrace your steps.
  • Transcript. A full transcript of the audio segment is usually available, both in scanned page form and PDF format.
  • Summary. Next is a brief summary of the conversation or interview.
  • Audio Segment. Embedded in a blue stripe are links which play the complete audio segment, accompanied by a title and time in minutes and seconds. Clicking on any of the 3 links will, if you have the proper software installed, play the audio. See the next section of this help page for more information on audio formats.
  • Audio Excerpts. In some cases, excerpts from the complete audio recording are also available. Each excerpt consists of a title, time, summary, and links to play the audio in 3 formats.

Audio Formats

Audio clips are each available for listening in the following 3 formats:

  • WMA - Windows Media Audio. Windows Media Audio is a Microsoft audio format playable via the Windows Media Player, which is built into Microsoft Windows. It is a streaming format, meaning that you don't have to wait for the audio to download before listening.
  • MOV - Quicktime. Quicktime is a format developed by Apple Computer which is built into all Macintosh computers and is also available for Windows. It is pseudo-streaming, which allows you to listen without waiting for a complete download.
  • MP3. MP3 is a popular format for digital music. Depending on the software used for playback, it typically requires complete downloading of the clip before listening. To estimate download time, use the following formula: 1 minute of audio = roughly 120K bytes. 120K bytes takes about 30-35 seconds to download using a 56K modem. Thus, a half-hour clip may take more than 15 minutes to download on such a modem. Use the streaming formats unless you simply wish to download the audio clip for later listening.

To see if you have the proper software for playing any of these 3 audio formats, use this link to navigate to a typical audio page, and try each of the 3 links: WMA, MOV, and MP3.

Listening Tools

The Windows Media Audio Player is freely available from Microsoft at the following address: http://windowsmedia.com/download/download.asp

Apple's Quicktime Player is available for free downloading at the following address: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download

A popular audio listening tool is WinAmp, produced by NullSoft. It handles MP3 as well as many other audio formats. The home page for WinAmp is: http://www.winamp.com