What is Oral History?
- oral history is the recording of memories of people's unique life experiences. Often the only way to find out about the past is to ask someone who knows about it.
- oral history creates a record or supplements existing ones. Through oral history the past comes alive. People can be much more interesting than documents.
- oral history can be especially useful in recording the experiences of ordinary people whose voices have previously been ignored or silenced.
- oral history preserves the past for now and for the future. The recording of oral history is a two-way process in which someone shares memories with an interviewer who has carefully planned an interview.
- oral history preserves voices, accents and vocabularies of individuals interviewed.
How may it be used?
- for the life histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other groups who may be poorly represented in written sources
- for family history
- for research purposes in tertiary education studies
- for inclusion in interactive websites
- in corporate and institutional histories
- in museums to enliven displays
- in publications to capture readers imaginations
- in radio, television and plays to promote authentic voices of the past
- to trace the history of a local community
- to encourage children to treat people as living history books, at the same time increasing understanding between generations