SSRC Oral History Workshop

SSRC-DPD Workshop 3 at the University of California, Santa Cruz

May 11, 2018, 9 AM – 12 PM

Workshop Overview

Welcome to Workshop 3: “Getting Started with Oral History: Theory, Project Design, and Practice.” In this workshop we will define oral history, explore oral history as a methodology, and delineate differences between oral history and other forms of interviewing. We will also delve into project design that will include topics from developing legal documentation to selecting the right recording equipment for your needs to making connections in the field. We will also spend a good bit of time on interviewing techniques and strategies to make the most of your interviews and by extension your overall projects. Lastly, we will also talk briefly about digital preservation and potential partnerships with repositories.

Agenda

9:00 – 9:05     Introductions

9:05 – 9:10     Basic resources in Oral History 

9:10 – 9:25     Part I: Defining Oral History  

9:25 – 9:40     Q&A, Part I

9:40 – 9:50     Part II: Project Design

9:50 – 10:10    Q&A, Part II ^
^ Here we will open it up for students to troubleshoot their individual project designs.

10:10 – 10:25     Part III: Ethical and Legal Considerations and Best Practices

10:25 – 10:35     Q&A, Part III

10:35 – 10:55     Part IV: Digital Recording and Equipment

10:55 – 11:05    Q&A, Part IV

11:05 – 11:10      Break

11:10 – 11:40     Part V: Interviewing ^
^ This section will be styled like a open forum for students to ask questions as the presentation is conducted.

11:40 – 11:50     Part VI: After the Interview and Digital Preservation

11:50 –  12:00      Q&A, Part VI and Closing Remarks 

Preparation for the Workshop

  1. Pick 2-3 Readings from the Reading List, your choice given your personal concerns.
    All topics will be covered in the workshop, but a deep dive into some of these concepts can make for the most fruitful discussions. Each topic is noted before the listed Relevant Reading, and an abstract for each reading in included on the first page of the PDF file. All readings are accessible as PDF on this workshop website or in the shared Google Drive folder SSRC_OHW. You do not need a log-in or password to access.
    It might be that you revisit other readings after the workshop armed with the theoretical and methodological training provided by the workshop.
  2. Project Overview to be filled out before workshop. This will give us a nice baseline to ask specific questions and have a detailed discussion of everyone’s respective projects.
  3. ** denote three required readings for students missing the first hour of the workshop.

Goals for the Workshop

1. Defining Oral History

In this section we will talk about the development of oral history as a discipline and the development of oral history as a methodology, We will also delve into the different ways to utilize oral history across and within multiple disciplines.

Relevant Readings:

For more on memory work and oral history
Portelli, Alessandro. “What makes Oral History different.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 48-58. New York: Routledge, 2016.**

For more on oral history and present-day subjects
Cave, Mark. “What Remains: Reflections on Crisis Oral History,” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 92-103. New York: Routledge, 2016.

2. Project Design

In this section, we will talk about setting long and short-term goals,  constructing timelines, generating topic lists, contacting gatekeepers, and identifying narrators.

Relevant Readings/Resources:

For an overview of project design and considerations —
“Planning a Project, Where to begin?” In “Introduction to Oral History Manual.” Waco: Baylor University Institute for Oral History, 2014. **

3. Ethical and Legal Considerations and Best Practices in Oral History

In this section, we will discuss Long-Range Outcomes,  Documentation, Copyright Transfer, and Future Use, We will also talk briefly about the use of Restricted Interviews and the IRB. Importantly, we will talk about Oral History Ethics and Correct Representation.

Relevant Readings

For more on ethics and bias in oral history collection —
Jessee, Erin. “The Limits of Oral History: Ethics and Methodology Amid Highly Politicized Research Settings.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 674-688. New York: Routledge, 2016. **

For more on ethical issues in interviewing difficult subjects —
Blee, Kathleen. “Evidence, Empathy and Ethics: Lessons from Oral Histories of the Klan.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 424-433. New York: Routledge, 2016.

For more on preparing legal documents and the IRB—
“Preparing Legal Documents.” In “Introduction to Oral History Manual.” Waco: Baylor University Institute for Oral History, 2014.

4. Digital Recording and Equipment

In this section, we will discuss Recording Oral History Guiding Principles, Audio and Video Equipment, Audio Recording Audio File Formats, Digital Recorders, and Microphones. We will briefly talk about Video Recording, Lux Ratings, Video Recording Formats,  and Audio v.s. Video Recording. Lastly, we will talk about Smart Phone Recording and Skype Interviews.

Relevant Readings/Resources:

For more on Usability and Archives —
Boyd, Doug A. “’I Just want to click on it to listen’: Oral History archives, orality, and usability.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 117-134. New York: Routledge, 2016.

For more on Digital Methodologies —
Video Introduction to Doug Boyd’s Oral History in the Digital Age website

Doug Boyd’s Oral History in the Digital Age website

For more on Digital Recording Equipment —
Doug Boyd’s Digitalomnium website.

5. Interviewing, The Basics: Techniques, Strategies, and Interpretation

In this section, we will talk about your role as an Interviewer ranging from temperament to interview and research goals. We will talk about the Insider/Outsider dynamics in oral history. We will also discuss interview best practices like preparation, pre-interviews,  and selecting an interview settings and locations. We will discuss practical techniques to employ during the interview such as introductions, controlling an interview, asking questions, and how to engage in deep and active listening, We will also discuss strategies for asking tough questions, dealing with frustrating situations, and interpreting/reacting to emotion and silence in interviews.

Relevant Readings

For more on oral history methodology and interviewing strategies —
Yow, Valerie. “Interviewing Techniques and Strategies.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 153-178. New York: Routledge, 2016.

For more on deep listening in interviewing —
Anderson, Kathryn and Dana C. Jack. “Learning to Listen: Interview Techniques and Analyses.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 179-192. New York: Routledge, 2016.

For more on interpretive conflict in oral history —
Borland, Katherine. “’That’s not what I said’: Interpretive Conflict in Oral Narrative Research.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 412-423. New York: Routledge, 2016.

For more on contextualizing emotion and co-production of interview between interviewer and narrator —
Bornat, Joanna. “Remembering and Reworking Emotions: The Reanalysis of Emotion in an Interview.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 434-444. New York: Routledge, 2016.

6. Digital Preservation, The Basics

In this section, we will briefly discuss how to protect and preserve recordings and how to generate interview notes and documentation.

Relevant Readings/Resources

For more on protecting and preserving recordings —
“Protecting and Preserving Recordings.” In “Introduction to Oral History.” Waco: Baylor University Institute for Oral History, 2014.

For more on digital access —
Boyd, Doug A. “’I Just want to click on it to listen’: Oral History archives, orality, and usability.” In The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson, 117-134. New York: Routledge, 2016.

Other Resources

Oral History Association ‘s (OHA) Principles and Best Practices

OHA endorsed Web Guides to Doing Oral History

Oral History in the Digital Age introduction and website

Ask Doug (Boyd) – Choosing an Audio Recorder

Baylor University Institute for Oral History’s Introduction to Oral History manual

H-Oralhist listserv

To be continued in a possible later workshop in Fall 2018

  1. Advanced Interviewing
  2. Interview Processing (Notes, organizations, etc.)
  3. Digital Preservation and Transcription (preservation and access copies, metadata, using preservation, audio, and transcription software like Box, Amazon Glacier, Audacity and Express Scribe)
  4. Digital Access (using open source software like Soundcloud, YouTube, Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, ARCgis StoryMaps, OMEKA etc.)
  5. Potential outcomes for your project (Digital exhibits, podcasts, conferencing, talks, etc.)

 

Resources from Workshop 3:

Link to Workshop Keynote Slides, SSRC Workshop_Keynote_PDF

**Courtesy of Steven Sielaff at Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History and Priscilla Martinez. Creative Commons 3.0 attribution needed if re-distributed. 

Sample Unrestricted Oral History Interviewee Deed of Gift

Sample Unrestricted Oral History Interviewer Deed of Gift

Sample Ephemera Release

Sample Pre-Interview Documentation: Project Abstract, Topic List and Pre-Interview Form

Sample Processing Log

 

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