Oral History

What is Oral History ?

What is Oral History?

  • oral history preserves voices, accents and vocabularies of individuals interviewed.
  • oral history creates a record or supplements existing ones. Through oral history the past comes alive. People can be much more interesting than documents.
  • oral history can be especially useful in recording the experiences of ordinary people whose voices have previously been ignored or silenced.
  • oral history is the recording of memories of people’s unique life experiences. Often the only way to find out about the past is to ask someone who knows about it.
  • oral history preserves the past for now and for the future. The recording of oral history is a two-way process in which someone shares memories with an interviewer who has carefully planned an interview.

How may it be used?

  • for family history
  • in museums to enliven displays
  • for inclusion in interactive websites
  • in corporate and institutional histories
  • to trace the history of a local community
  • in publications to capture readers imaginations
  • in radio, television and plays to promote authentic voices of the past
  • for research purposes in tertiary education studies
  • for the life histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other groups who may be poorly represented in written sources
  • to encourage children to treat people as living history books, at the same time increasing understanding between generations

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