Thursday, January 24, 2008

Are you doing oral history?

What is oral history? For historians oral history has grown out of the social science revolution that has shifted emphasis away from elite views about historical events toward the everyday experience of ordinary people. The Oral History Association defines oral history on its website as, "a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in past events and ways of life. It encourages those who produce and use oral history to recognize certain principles, rights, technical standards, and obligations for the creation and preservation of source material that is authentic, useful, and reliable." Since this project is not requiring students to record, only interview, it is not oral history. Creating a biographical sketch is not confined by the same standard as oral history. For more information on Oral history techniques and ideas check out the Oral History Association website.

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