Skip to Main Content

Oral History Collaborations and Project Resources

An overview and resource list for oral history projects held in collaboration with Atkins Library Special Collections.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get help with doing an oral history interview or project?

If you would like assistance in conducting and oral history project please fill out this form and a special collections staff member will get back to you about your inquiry. 


How can I learn to do oral histories?

 Please see this section of the LibGuide


What are general tips for conducting interviews?

Please see this section of the LibGuide. 


How long does it take to do an oral history interview?

 It can range from 20 minutes to 2 hours. The length of the oral history interview depends on the narrator and the amount of questions asked.


Can I interview someone under the age of 18?

Yes, someone under 18 can be interviewed for an oral history project with their guardian's permission. 


What is an oral history consent and release form?

The consent and release form is a legal document that serves several purposes. It iInforms the interviewee/ narrator about the purpose of a project and how their interview may be used. It transfers the interview recording to a designated depository or organization for preservation and public access. It establishes copyright agreements for the recording.


What is an interviewee biographical form and how is it used?

The oral history biographical form collects demographic details about the interviewee/ narrator ahead of an interview. The form is used for two main purposes: 

  • To assist the interviewer in researching the life of the interviewee/ narrator so they can construct meaningful questions.
  • To establish accurate information about the interviewee/ narrator so they can be correctly represented in a catalog.


What equipment do I need to do oral history?

The basic equipment you will need is a digital audio or video recorder. For information about equipment see the equipment section of the LibGuide. 


Can I borrow recording equipment to do an oral history interview?

Atkins Library loans out quality recording equipment. The service point for technology loans is in Area 49 on the second floor of the library.


How are oral histories used?

Oral history is a qualitative form of research that helps us to investigate and understand meanings, perspectives and perceptions, social and political contexts, relationships and interactions, motivations, identities, and agency.

Oral history is also an important tool for documenting the lives and viewpoints of those who are often underrepresented or misrepresented in public records and archives.


Where can I find previous oral history projects that are archived at Atkins Library?

To access oral history projects that are archived at Atkins Library see our Goldmine digital repository website. Oral histories that are not yet available online may be discovered using the Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives Finding Aids and can be accessed by request.


Can Atkins Library provide an interviewer, or help me hire a third party interviewer for my oral history project?

We may be able to help you with this. Fill out the Atkins Library Oral History Collaboration Request Form for more information.