6 Oral history links and resources
Guides, tips, lesson plans, and examples of student projects on the web.
Organizations and programs
- Oral History Association
- This site includes information about OHA events and on joining the OHA, as well as information on their many useful oral history publications.
- Southern Oral History Program, UNC-Chapel Hill
- This extensive website provides information about the latest research conducted by the SOHP, including interview excerpts that you can read and listen to online. You will also find detailed instructional information, a well-developed bibliography, and a series of links.
- Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University
- The Center for Documentary Studies uses photography, filmmaking, oral history, folklore, and writing as tools to explore community life. The site includes exhibits, information about current documentary projects, and Putting Documentary Work to Work, a "step-by-step guide designed to help community organizations develop and conduct their own documentary projects using a camera and tape recorder."
- Practical Guide from the Southern Oral History Program
- This comprehensive site features an electronic version of the SOHP’s popular guide book, information about recording equipment, tips for successful interviews, and copies of the SOHP’s release forms and other official documents.
- Baylor’s Introduction to Oral History
- These pages provide in-depth information on interviewing technique, possible uses of completed interviews, and ethical considerations. An extensive bibliography makes this site a very valuable resource.
- Oral History in the Teaching of U.S. History (ERIC Digest)
- Why and how to conduct an oral history project, with references.
- How to Prepare and Conduct an Oral History Interview
- Dos and don’ts for planning, conducting, and preserving an oral history interview, with sample topics and questions for a life history interview. From KBYU, Brigham Young University.
- Tips for Oral History Interviewers
- Good, quick advice from Willa K. Baum, Oral History for the Local Historical Society.
Lesson and unit plans using oral history
- Using Oral History
- From the Library of Congress Learning Page. "This lesson presents social history content and topics through the voices of ordinary people. It draws on primary sources from the American Memory Collection, American Life Histories, 1936-1940. Using excerpts from the collection, students study social history topics through interviews that recount the lives of ordinary Americans. Based on these excerpts and further research in the collections, students develop their own research questions. They then plan and conduct oral history interviews with members of their communities."
- Learning About Immigration Through Oral History
- A year-long interdisciplinary project plan designed for middle school, developed by Barbara Wysocki and Frances Jacobson as part of the American Memory Fellows Program. Students interview immigrants in their own communities and compare the stories of these contemporary immigrants with those found in American Memory collections online. The plan includes instructions for practicing oral history techniques by interviewing teachers and family members, including a lesson on asking good questions. A final essay serves as synthesis for the project.
Student projects on the Web
- What Did You Do in the War, Grandma?
- An Oral History of Rhode Island Women During World War II, produced by students in the Honors English Program at South Kingstown High School, 1995. The Web site includes transcripts of twenty-six interviews conducted by students, as well as background about the topic and the project and a brief essay called "Teaching English via Oral History."
- The Whole World Was Watching: An Oral History of 1968
- A joint project between South Kingstown High School and Brown University’s Scholarly Technology Group in which 10th-grade students interviewed Rhode Islanders about the year 1968. The website contains transcripts, audio recordings, and edited stories from the interviews. "Their stories, which include references to the Vietnam War, the struggle for Civil Rights, the Assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy as well as many more personal memories are a living history of one of the most tumultuous years in United States history."
- The Stories of the People
- Rocky Gap High School students in Rocky Gap, Va., have interviewed members of their community and posted transcripts to the web. The site is based in the Bland County History Archives, and it includes links to Rocky Gap High School as well as other oral history sites.