Welcome to the Oral History Guide!
This guide includes necessary information and helpful resources for completing an oral history project. Peruse the guide using the tabs across the top to access these resources.
What is oral history?
"Oral history is the systematic collection of living people's testimony about their own experiences. Oral history is not folklore, gossip, hearsay, or rumor. Oral historians attempt to verify their findings, analyze them, and place them in an accurate historical context. Oral historians are also concerned with storage of their findings for use by later scholars." (dohistory.org)
"History is all around us, in our own families and communities, in the living memories and the experiences of older people. We have only to ask them and they can tell us enough stories to fill a library of books. This kind of history – that we all gather as we go through life – is called ORAL HISTORY... Most importantly, historical documents and books can’t tell us everything about our past... Oral history fills in the gaps and gives us history which includes everyone." (ohs.org.uk)
The following books, manuals, guides, and websites may be helpful at any stage of your oral history project, from preparation to presentation. You will find more resources on each tab that are specific to the stage of the project.
Oral History in the Digital Age
Best Practices Wiki (navigate using the sidebar on the left)
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
Veteran's History Project (Library of Congress)
Oral History Association
Oral History Society UK
The Southern Oral History Program
Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
UC Berkeley Library