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.
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