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Augorah: Contributing to Augorah with the Oral History Toolkit

Oral History Toolkit

Getting Started

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." 

  1. The interviewer needs to compile a list of questions to ask the interview participant.
  2. The interview participant must give written and spoken consent to being interviewed.
  3. The interviewer should ask follow-up questions that give the interview participant a chance to elaborate.
  4. The interviewer needs to record the entire interview.
  5. The interviewer needs to describe their interview in a full and accurate transcript.

The following information comes from key books that provide detailed information about conducting oral histories. Each of these books is available to borrow:

Equipment Guides

 You need four key pieces of equipment to begin an oral history project.

A notepad and pencil with the number 1A 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.

  • Tip: Consider using a notepad instead of a computer to take notes because computers have noise and visual distractions.
  • Tip: Be sure to explain to your participant that you are taking notes for yourself. Otherwise, they may become self-conscious.


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.

Otter upload instructions icon

An online tool called : 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 .

Release Forms

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 for more information.

Interview Checklist

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.