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Interviewing for Oral History

Microphone

At the GOHP we're dedicated to helping as many people as possible become oral historians. We'd love everyone to get on board - a microphone in every hand and a tale on every lip, if you will.

But developing your oral history production skills takes time, patience and practice - and the resources to learn from over 50 years of collected knowledge about the practice of oral history. Here at the GOHP we're linking to some of the best, free oral history resources available, to help you learn and develop as an oral historian.

Click on any of the links below to find out more abut the art and craft of interviewing for oral history, or head on over to our Tech Tips page for more information about audio production techniques.


Videos about Oral History Interviewing

From the York Region District School Board Museum & Archives in Canada, some good tips, especially for interviewers seeking to keep their subjects to particular topics (8:09)

 

In a mock interview, students from the University of Southern California show how to gradually build your interview towards particular themes and topics (4:43)

 

Here, a peppy group of teens from the Minnesota Historical Society reveal a few good tips about how to conduct a good oral history interview (8:57)

 
 
 

This older, but still very useful Radio Skills Training programme focuses on the skills needed to conduct a successful recorded interview (32:40)

 

Useful Articles about Interviewing

The Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide

An excellent (and downloadable) guide to oral history interviewing with keywords explained, sample questions, and tips on conducting the interview itself 

 

Oral History for Texans: How to Interview

From the Baylor Institute for Oral History comes Chapter 3 from Thomas L. Charlton's classic text, Oral History for Texans, one of the most detailed guides to interviewing for oral history on the web

Conducting an Oral History Interview

A concise but comprehensive guide to preparing and conducting an oral history interview from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission

Oral History: Technique

An excellent, short primer on the techniques and skills to develop as an oral historian, with some good advice about approaching difficult topics

Museums Victoria Discovery Centre

With heaps of videos, articles and information, Museums' Victoria provides an excellent getting started guide to "digital history"

A Practical Guide to Oral History

From the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina comes this comprehensive guide, with several pages dedicated to interviewing tips

The Australian War Memorial: Guide to Recording Oral Histories

An excellent guide for the general public about how to go about conducting oral history interviews with past or current Australian Defence Force members

The Human Interest and Oral History Interview

Two experienced interviewers from Radio NZ give us the benefit of their accrued knowledge in this book chapter aimed at the amateur oral historian

California Stories Uncovered

A thorough look at the entire oral history interview process written by Dr Cindy Mediavilla, a former public librarian and UCLA lecturer

Oral History Methodology

A more academic piece from David Russell, Director of the Oral History Program at UCSB, delivers a very in-depth look at the methodology of oral history interviews


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