Notes and Appendices
At present, this page consists of a list of web and print resources, both oral history collections presented in online format and informative sources for interviewers and archivists. Eventually, this page will also include samples of forms useful to oral history research and other pertinent documents.
The list below was compiled during spring 2010, with plans for occasional updates. You may want to consult your favorite search engine for more recent information related to these topics. Also, If you have suggestions for texts or sites not mentioned on this page, please let me know.
The University of North Carolina, Asheville: in addition to their online collection, they provide “Oral History Guidelines,” an article on basic oral history methods. It also includes links to other resources.
Baylor Oral History Institute: “Workshop on the Web” includes information on all aspects of oral history, including digital technologies, interview technique and transcription.
Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web: This book by Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, is available online (free!) .
The International Oral History Association (IOHA): the web page of the worl-wide oral history organization is worth exploring. Take a look at the "resources" pull-down menu on the main page.
The Oral History Association (OHA): their website has a number of resources for practitioners of oral history. Documents available through the “Technology” page of the website may be of particular interest.
Story Corps: this particularly interesting program, featured weekly on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, is a national nonprofit for the collection and dissemination of Americans’ life stories. Among other useful pages on their website is the “Do-It-Yourself Guide.”
The Vermont Folklife Center: this ever-helpful website includes a set of Field Research Guides. The information on these pages has been essential for putting together our own page.
Technology and Technique
Florida Voices: a project of the Florida Center for Library Automation, Florida Voices offers an article entitled “Oral history how-to guide and digital best practices” on their website, which also includes transcripts and streaming audio from several collections.
The Shoah Foundation: this program, mentioned below for their online video collection, also has a useful page of guidelines for videographers. While some of the advice is specific to working with narratives of violence and genocide, other information will be helpful to anyone recording oral histories on video.
Media Matters: the website for this digital archive consultation company features an extensive list of links to outside information on its "Resources" page. This is a great place to go with questions about file format, digital preservation and metadata.
Transom.org: you can find great reviews of audio equipment at the Transom Tools Column. Transom is an online venture dedicated to finding and promoting promising new voices and projects in the field of public radio, so the information on their site is aimed at broadcast quality audio.
Vermont Folklife Center: I have to mention these folks again. Please(!) see their Digital Audio Field Recording Equipment Guide, maintained by Andy Kolovos. This guide would not have been possible without the advice offered on their page.
Step-by-Step Guide to Oral History: available online, this guide by Judith Moyer includes some advice on forms under the "Paperwork" section, including this useful Interview Tracking Form.
Center for the Study of History and Memory: Indiana University's CSHM has downloadable deed-of-gift and informed-consent forms. These may serve as good examples for creating your own copyright release documents.
Curating Oral Histories: Nancy MacKay’s book, listed in the “print” section, offers a variety of form templates and samples.
Legal and Ethical Issues
The Oral History Association: the United States oral history group has yet to post a page to their website that deals with legal issues of interview-based historical research, but they do have this page, which addresses the relationship between oral history research, the use of human resources and oversight by internal review boards.
The Oral History Association of Australia (OHAA): along with other resources, the OHAA website offers a page on "Guidlines of Ethical Practice”.
The Oral History Society: the OHS is the british counterpart to other national oral history orgainizations. You can find information on the legal and ethical responsibilities of oral historians on their website. While law varies between countries, this should provide a good starting point for learning about the major issues.
For more on ethical and legal concerns regarding the practice of oral history, see the print section of this page.
The University of North Carolina Southern Oral History Project: this is the “Cadillac” of searchable, accessible, full-audio, transcript accompanied interviews. Give it a look!
The Shoah Foundation Insitute: they've made a small collection of interview clips available through their website. The videos were obviously made professionally and are a good reference for aspiring film interviewers. See above for more about their resources for interviewers and videographers.
AV/AR: a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (part of the Arkansas Studies Institute in Little Rock), AV/AR has a number of Arkansas oral histories fully available in streaming audio. The collection’s search functions work pretty well, and the interviews are separated into digestible clips.
The History Makers: this organization is dedicated to recording the stories of African American individuals and organizations that have made a difference in American history. As of April, 2010, interviews are not yet available through the website.
Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History: has a small but well-curated oral history collection that includes transcripts with professional looking audio and video. This is a clean looking website, very high production value.
Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum: has a multimedia exhibition which features the stories of the more than 400 Holocaust survivors who emigrated to Georgia. The website offers several options for story organization.
The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson: the second edition introduces a wide variety of issues within the field of oral history while maintaining an appropriate balance between accessibility and complexity. I would designate this a “must-read” if it contained more technical advice for newcomers to audio-video recording and multimedia archiving. The above link will direct you to the publisher's page; cheaper copies may be available through other online vendors.
Oral History and the Law by John A. Neuenschwander: a recent publication from Oxford University Press, the paperback version retails for around $20. Hardcover is also available for a premium.
Curating Oral Histories by Nancy McKay: this quick read highlights the full range of concerns for curators and archivists of oral histories. The book rarely, if ever, provides one-size-fits-all solutions, but will help you avoid major pitfalls in building and preserving your collection. Some of the more technical information, however, may be outdated, especially due to dropping costs for digital storage. You can find official information here. Again, check around for the best price before ordering.
Previous Main Top Next