LIBR 538B (3)


Offered on an irregular basis


MLIS and Dual MAS/MLIS: Completion of MLIS Core or permission of SLAIS Graduate Advisor

MAS: completion of MAS core and permission of the SLAIS Graduate Adviser

GOAL: The goal of this course is to provide students with:

  • a foundation in the theoretical issues surrounding the use of oral history as historical evidence and a research methodology,
  • understanding of project management and planning issues and strategies,
  • experience conducting and transcribing oral history interviews,
  • comprehension of preservation and access issues for oral history collections, and
  • the ability to articulate the value of oral history collections to archives and libraries.


Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Analyze the theoretical issues related to oral history and its use as historical evidence in a variety of contexts, including in archival and library settings.
  • Assess the problems of validity and bias surrounding all forms of historical evidence, including oral history.
  • Understand project planning issues, processes and strategies in the context of oral history projects.
  • Conduct oral history interviews, including completing background research, recruiting narrator, formulating questions, and interviewing narrator.
  • Apply current best practice standards for audio and visual recording of oral history interviews.
  • Apply current best practice ethical standards and legal standards to planning and conducting oral history interviews.
  • Discuss the legal and ethical issues surrounding the sharing and dissemination of oral history materials in a variety of contexts, including as legal evidence.
  • Apply current best practice standards for transcribing and indexing recorded oral history interviews.
  • Describe issues surrounding preservation of materials created during oral history interviews, including audio recordings, photographs, video recordings, and other associated materials.
  • Explain issues surrounding access to oral history materials in a library or archival setting.
  • Identify issues surrounding outreach using oral history materials in a library or archival setting.
  • Consider the impact of cultural, social and economic difference on planning and implementing oral history projects, as well as processing and using oral history collections.


This course will be divided into three sections: theory and methodology, planning and implementing oral history projects, and curating oral history.

  • Theory and Methodology
  • Theory
  • Methodology: oral history and related methods
  • Ethical and legal issues
  • Background research, identifying potential interviewees, and formulating questions
  • Recording equipment and standards
  • Conducting interviews
  • Transcription and Indexing
  • Preservation Issues
  • Access Issues
  • Outreach using oral history materials
  • Conclusions: writing history and culture using oral history materials