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AU Oral History Project: Oral History Resources

Notes are good!

Did You Know?

Oral Histories can be about ANYTHING!

The Southern Foodways Alliance has a wonderful oral history program chronicaling everything about Southern food from BBQ to the women who make tamales in the Mississippi Delta to pies in Arkansas.

Resources for Conducting an Oral History

10 Tips for Interviewers (from the Southern Oral History Project @ UNC)

Good Tip: Ask open-ended questions -- questions that begin with "why, how, where, what kind of," etc. Avoid "yes or no"questions.

UC Berkeley Regional Oral History Office has Tips for Interviewers

Good Tip: Don't interrupt a good story because you have thought of a question, or because your narrator is straying from the planned outline. If the      information is pertinent, let her go on, but jot down your questions on your notepad so you will remember to ask it later.

 The Center for the Study of History and Memory at Indiana University offers Oral History Techniques

Good Tip: Be aware of your personal appearance before you go to the interview. The tone you set nonverbally can be as important to the interview's success as what you say

Baylor University's Institute for Oral History has many, many great resources including a style guide for transcription.

Best Practice: Begin with a general introductions that serves as an audio label.

For example: "This is [your name]. Today is [month/day/year]. I am interview for the [first, second, third, etc.] time [full name of the subject. This interview is taking place at [where are you? someone's home? office?] in [city, state]. This interview is sponsored by [name of college or university or organization].

UCLA Guide for Oral History Research has good techniques for interviewing.

Best Practice: With exceptionally long-winded or rambling interviewees, it may be necessary to learn to jump in very quickly and firmly when a story is completed and to set expectations at the beginning of each interview session about how much of the material on the outline should be covered in that session.