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Oral History Resources  

Last Updated: May 11, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is Oral History?

Oral history is a method of conducting historical research through recorded interviews between a narrator with personal experience of historically significant events and a well-informed interviewer, with the goal of adding to the historical record. Because it is a primary source, an oral history is not intended to present a final, verified, or "objective" narrative of events, or a comprehensive history of a place. It is a spoken account, reflects personal opinion offered by the narrator, and as such it is subjective. Oral histories may be used together with other primary sources as well as secondary sources to gain understanding and insight into history.


  • Oral History Association
    The Oral History Association, established in 1966, seeks to bring together all persons interested in oral history as a way of collecting and interpreting human memories to foster knowledge and human dignity. With an international membership, the OHA serves a broad and diverse audience. Local historians, librarians and archivists, students, journalists, teachers, and academic scholars from many fields have found that the OHA provides both professional guidance and a collegial environment for sharing research.
  • International Oral History Association
    A professional association established to provide a forum for oral historians around the world, and a means for cooperation among those concerned with the documentation of human experience. IOHA seeks to stimulate research that uses the techniques of oral history and to promote the development of standards and principles for individuals, institutions and agencies (both public and private) who have the responsibility for the collection and preservation of historical information gathered through the techniques of oral histories, in all forms. Through international conferences, collaborative networks, and support for national oral history organizations, IOHA seeks to foster a better understanding of the democratic nature and value of oral history worldwide.
  • Oral History Listserv: H-Oralhist
    H-Oralhist is a network for scholars and professionals active in studies related to oral history. It is affiliated with the Oral History Association.
  • Groundswell: Oral History for Social Change
    An emerging and dynamic network of oral historians, activists, cultural workers, community organizers, and documentary artists.


  • Oral History Review
    The Oral History Review, published by the Oral History Association, is the U.S. journal of record for the theory and practice of oral history. Its primary mission is to explore the nature and significance of oral history and advance understanding of the field among scholars, educators, practitioners, and the general public.
  • Words and Silences
    Words and Silences is the official on-line journal of the International Oral History Association. It is an internationally peer reviewed, high quality forum for oral historians from a wide range of disciplines and a means for the professional community to share projects and current trends of oral history from around the world.

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