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Oral History

Guide to the discipline and methodology of oral history.

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.


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, 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-40X 4-Channel Portable Digital Recorder, 32 GB memory card, microphone, table-top mic stand, microphone cable, and carrying case. 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 recorder comes with a quick instruction manual and a full reference manual.

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 User Services Department.

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

Image of TASCAM DR-40X audio recorder

TASCAM DR-40X Portable Digital Audio Recorder

Last Updated: Jun 12, 2024 2:08 PM