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Oral History   Tags: interview, interviewing, oral biography, oral history  

Guide to the discipline and methodology of oral history.
Last Updated: Apr 26, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Oral History Defined

"Oral history is primary-source material created in an interview setting with a witness to or a participant in an event or a way of life for the purpose of preserving the information and making it available to others. The term refers both to the process and the interview itself."

 --From The Oral History Manual, 2nd ed., by Barbara W. Sommer and Mary Kay Quinlan, p. 1.


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Use this guide as a starting point for research on the discipline and methodology of oral history. Use the tabs to discover further information about searching for books, articles, and more.

Note: Throughout this guide, all links open in new windows.


Oral History Recording Equipment

Thanks to a generous grant from the Friends of the Library in fall 2013, the University Library now has two sets of professional-quality portable digital audio recording equipment available for use by students, faculty, staff, and other eligible borrowers.

Each set comes with a TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder, AC adapter, 32 GB memory card, cables, microphone, table-top mic stand, transport bag, and instruction manual. This equipment can be used to record oral histories, field recordings, guest speakers, music, podcasts, or in any other application where high-quality recording equipment is needed.

The sets can be found in the on-line catalog under the title “Portable Digital Audio Recorder” and are available for one-week check-out in the Library Media Center.

Once again, many thanks to the Friends of the Library for underwriting this purchase.


Oral History Handbooks, Manuals, Etc.

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The Oral History Manual (E-book) - Barbara W. Sommer ; Mary Kay Quinlan
ISBN: 9780759118058
Publication Date: 2009, 2nd ed.

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Oral History Theory (E-book) - Lynn Abrams
ISBN: 9780203849033
Publication Date: 2010

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A Guide to Oral History and the Law - John A. Neuenschwander
ISBN: 9780195365979
Publication Date: 2009
University Library 3 NORTH KF 390.O7 N48 2009

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Story Bridges: A Guide for Conducting Intergenerational Oral History Projects (E-book) - Angela Zusman
ISBN: 9781611326246
Publication Date: 2012
Also available in print at University Library 2 SOUTH D 16.14 .Z87 2010.


Oral History Book Series

Links will bring up titles in each series held by the University Library.

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Palgrave Studies in Oral History - Series editors: Bruce M. Stave and Linda Shopes
"Palgrave Studies in Oral History brings together engaging work from scholars, activists, and other practitioners. Books in the series are aimed at a broad community of readers; they employ edited oral history interviews to explore a wide variety of topics and themes in all areas of history, placing first-person accounts in broad historical context and engaging issues of historical memory and narrative construction. Fresh approaches to the use and analysis of oral history, as well as to the organization of text, are a particular strength of the series, as are projects that use oral accounts to illuminate human rights issues."

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Oxford Oral History Series - Series Editors: J. Todd Moey; Kathryn Nasstrom; Robert Perks; Donald A. Ritchie
"The Oxford Oral History Series showcases the best of current work in oral history and aims to advance methodological and theoretical understandings of the field. It is international and interdisciplinary in scope and includes volumes for academic, professional, and trade (general) audiences."

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Twayne's Oral History Series - Series Editor: Donald A. Ritchie
"This series presents major events in American history through the rich personal testimonies of those who were there."

Curator, Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection

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George I. Paganelis
Contact Info
University Library, #3025
California State University, Sacramento
2000 State University Drive East
Sacramento, CA 95819-6039
Phone: (916) 278-4361
Fax: (916) 278-5917
Send Email

California State University, Sacramento | University Library | 2000 State University Drive East | Sacramento, CA 95819 | Phone: 916-278-5679


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