Oral History Resources

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Genie Obana is seated in front of a video camera, looking at papers with a kneeling woman in NPS uniform
Oral history interview with Genie Obana at Manzanar National Historic Site

NPS

Are you eager to preserve and protect National Park Service history by interviewing personnel in your park or program who recently retired? Are you contemplating an oral history project that explores the history of your park or program or of resources that you steward? Here's the place to begin!

These resources offer guidance to all the stages of an oral history project, from planning and budgeting through choosing equipment, conducting great interviews, being mindful of legal and ethical issues, archiving and preserving digital recordings, transcribing recordings, and using interviews in multiple ways.

You can also reach out to Lu Ann Jones, coordinator of Park History Program’s oral history program. She specializes in oral history methods and training. Contact Lu Ann by email or at 202-354-2219. She's happy to help.

Getting Started

>> The OHA Principles and Best Practices succinctly describes the organization’s core principles, oral history ethics, and best practices.
>> The OHA Archiving Oral History offers best practices for preserving oral history interview recordings and materials.
>> The OHA's Remote Interviewing Resources offer useful guidance as oral history practitioners adapt methods during the COVID-19 pandemic and stop face-to-face interviewing for the health of both narrator and interviewer.

Webinars & Training

  • Webinar trainings related to oral history are now available as video recordings. Webinar topics are oral history project planning and interviewing; preserving and accessing oral history interviews; and transcribing oral history recordings.

>> Managing and Archiving Oral History Interviews for Preservation and Access
>> Transcribing Oral History Interviews
>> Effective Oral History: Sucessfully Creating and Using Oral Histories

Resources

>> Directory of Oral History in the National Park Service (3rd ed., 2015).
>> Make sure narrators sign the NPS Oral History Legal Release Form so the National Park Service can use stories shared with us.
>> Overview of the oral history archive at Harpers Ferry Center: In Their Own Words.

  • Explore these articles and videos for further study into the theory and practice of oral history.

Last updated: August 13, 2021