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Oral history


  • Draw up a plan for your oral history programme, including why you want to conduct interviews, who you want to interview and what you will do with the recordings
  • Ensure you have recording equipment that fits the standard required for a high-quality sound recording, and that you have procedures in place for uploading, storing, copying and cataloguing the recording
  • Make a list of subjects you want to cover and people who may be able to interview about these subjects. Contact these people to obtain their consent and explain what the interview is for. Ask the interviewee for initial information on their life and career and do research into the topic, so you are well-prepared for the interview.
  • Plan the interview, including where and when it will take place. Put in place any ethical measures that will be required and ensure that the interviewee has informed consent over how their interviews will be recorded, used and shared.
  • Make sure the interviewee reads and signs a participation agreement prior to the interview
  • Maintain good interview etiquette during the recording, ask open-ended and neutral questions, and allow for breaks
  • On completion, ask the interviewee to sign a recording agreement and send them an audio copy of the recording. Check whether they would like any part of the interview to be closed.
  • Upload and store the interview files, make access copies and catalogue them for future reference

Oral history survey:

Fill out this survey to let us know your thoughts on the oral history guide.