Oral History Fundamentals


Target Audience:

Employees, volunteers, and interns working on (or planning on working on) oral history projects.

Summary and Objectives:

This 90-minute team-taught Webinar introduces key components of a successful oral history project, with an emphasis on in-depth interviewing. Instructors will discuss briefly the rationale for oral history research, how to plan an oral history project, legal issues related to oral history, and how to select appropriate recording equipment. The Webinar will focus on interview preparation and interviewing techniques. Instructors are historians and anthropologists at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service, and National Park Service.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Introduce participants to why and how oral history is used in federal agencies.
  • Introduce participants to the various steps in the oral history process, including project planning, legal issues, selection of recording equipment, interviewing, interview processing and archiving, and use of oral history in publications, websites, podcasts, museum exhibits, and other media.
  • Focus on developing skills necessary for in-depth oral history interviews, including interview preparation, designing interview questions, developing basic interview skills, and evaluating interviews.
  • Familiarize participants with books and online resources to enhance their oral history skills and understanding.

Competency Addressed:

Communication Approaches - Awareness, History and Archaeology - Awareness, Oral Communication - Basic, Writing - Basic, Cultural Savvy - Basic

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