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Creating Oral Histories

This guide offers general tips and resources for those interested in undertaking oral history projects

Preparing for your Interview

  1. Prepare for the interview: Start by researching the interviewee's background and work to familiarize yourself with them and their work, personal background, etc. Create a list of questions that cover various aspects of their research, career milestones, challenges faced, and any personal experiences they may want to share. 

  2. Set up the interview: Contact the interviewee and explain your intention and goals to conduct an oral history interview. Discuss the logistics, such as the preferred time, location, and mode of the interview (in-person, phone, or video call). Establish with each interviewee if there are topics they do not want to address. Establish with each interviewee in general terms how long the interview will last. Consider sending each interviewee an outline of questions you might ask, so they have time to think about how they want to answer. Longer interviews may need to be split into 2 or 3 parts depending on the length of the interview(s).

  3. Determine the equipment setup: If you are recording an interview in person, ensure you have the necessary recording equipment or software to record the conversation. Practice using the equipment. If you are unsure and need guidance, schedule a consultation with library staff. 

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