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Family History/Genealogy: Oral Histories

What is Oral History?

The Oral History Association defines oral history as "a field of study and a method of gathering, preserving and interpreting the voices and memories of people, communities, and participants in past events."1 According to the book Doing Oral History, oral histories are distinct from other types of audio recordings of the spoken word in that they involve a dialog between interviewer and interviewee with prepared questions.2 Oral history recordings and accompanying transcriptions or summaries are usually kept in libraries or archives and are a valuable resource for researchers across a wide variety of disciplines.

Family & Local History Librarian Joseph B. Everett, MLS, AG

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Joe Everett
2246 HBLL
Harold B. Lee Library
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84062

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Subject guides are works in progress.

If there are resources or information you would like added or clarified, please contact me.

Guide Contents

This guide is for students and researchers who are conducting oral history interviews or researching oral histories. The guide is organized into the following resource sections: 

1 "Oral History: Defined", Oral History Association,

2 Ritchie, Donald A. Ritchie, Doing Oral History, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).