Oral histories are recorded interviews, typically with a single person, that are centered on a well-researched topic. Anyone can do an oral history, provided that they follow some basic guidelines for the conversation between the interviewer and the person being interviewed, which Augorah refers to as the "interview participant."
The following information comes from key books that provide detailed information about conducting oral histories. Each of these books is available to borrow:
You need four key pieces of equipment to begin an oral history project.
A pad of paper and a writing utensil. These tools are not high-tech, but you need them so you can quietly take notes and write down follow-up questions during your interview.
A microphone. You could use a tablet, mobile device, or your computer's internal microphone, but keep in mind that these microphones do not capture very good sound. We recommend checking out one of the Yeti microphone kits at the library front desk.
A free program called Audacity. This program allows you to record using the Yeti microphone or your own device, edit it, and export it as an .mp3 file that can then be stored in Augorah. There are also mobile apps that can record audio, but you are responsible for ensuring that they can record about an hour of audio and export that audio into a submittable .mp3 file.
An online tool called otter.ai : This program allows you to upload the mp3 of your oral history, generate a transcript, edit the transcript, and export the transcript as a .pdf .
Each interview participant needs to provide written consent to being interviewed and to have their interview stored in Augorah and shared online.
There are additional forms and requirements for working with vulnerable populations, including people under the age of 18, prisoners, people who cannot provide informed consent due to disability, and/or sex workers. - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Before your interview begins, make sure to follow this checklist to ensure that you are ready. Our Oral History Checklist will help you make sure that your interview is successful and helps us add it to our collection as quickly as possible.