Oral history is a technique that many modern historians practice. Historians such as Steven Ambrose
interview hundreds - even thousands - of people and piece the historical story together in the words of the actual participants. The author's narrative
voice and personal subjectivity is minimized.
Many colleges and regional historical societies practice a similar technique. They want to preserve the memories of elder citizens. Personal recollections, anecdotes, and lives are being recorded in audio format and preserved for the future.
Here is a tip from the UC Berkeley Library:
The One-Minute Guide to Oral History Interviewing by Carol Hicke
- Ensure that equipment is functioning properly.
- Label tapes with names interviewer, narrator, date, tape number.
- Take outline, photos, clippings to interview.
- Obtain signature on release agreement.
- Develop rapport but remain neutral.
- Ask who, what, where, when, why, how.
- Remain polite but firmly in control.
- Listen carefully--and pursue new topics.
- Use silence.
- Ask for examples and anecdotes as illustrations.
(C) 1997-2000 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley