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Oral History: Resources and Archives: Home

Sample Oral History Audio Files

Ronald Rice Interview - Krueger-Scott Collection

Mary Lou Williams Interview - Jazz Oral History Project

What is Oral History?

Oral History: Defined

Oral history is a field of study and a method of gathering, preserving and interpreting the voices and memories of people, communities, and participants in past events. Oral history is both the oldest type of historical inquiry, predating the written word, and one of the most modern, initiated with tape recorders in the 1940s and now using 21st-century digital technologies.

In Doing Oral History, Donald Ritchie explains, “Oral History collects memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews.  An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer questioning an interviewee and recording their exchange in audio or video format.  Recordings of the interview are transcribed, summarized, or indexed and then placed in a library or archives. These interviews may be used for research or excerpted in a publication, radio or video documentary, museum exhibition, dramatization or other form of public presentation. Recordings, transcripts, catalogs, photographs and related documentary materials can also be posted on the Internet.  Oral history does not include random taping, such as President Richard Nixon’s surreptitious recording of his White House conversations, nor does it refer to recorded speeches, wiretapping, personal diaries on tape, or other sound recordings that lack the dialogue between interviewer and interviewee.”

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Guide Owners

Profile Photo
Krista White
she/her/hers
Contact:
Digital Scholarship & Pedagogies Librarian

John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers-Newark
Contact: Twitter Page

Digital Scholarship & Pedagogies Librarian

Profile Photo
Krista White
she/her/hers
Contact:
Digital Scholarship & Pedagogies Librarian

John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers-Newark
Contact: Twitter Page

Acknowledgement

This guide was originally created by Tammy Syrek-Marshall

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