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Capturing the Living Past:
An Oral History Primer


The Nebraska State Historical Society's collections contain hundreds of oral history interviews, some conducted by Society staff over the years. Do you want to conduct an oral history interview yourself or participate in a larger oral history project? The following pages will give you the basic background you need and will help guide you through the steps of practicing oral history.

You can navigate forward or backward through the sections of Capturing the Living Past: An Oral History Primer. You can also click on any of its links to move to other places in the primer or to useful resources outside the Nebraska State Historical Society's Website.

The primer's contents are divided into twelve sections:

1. Introduction

2. Glossary

3. Legal and Ethical Issues: First Things First

4. Planning: The Key to Successful Oral History

5. Thoughts on Equipment and Media

6. Getting Ready to Interview: Preliminary Steps

7. Setting Up the Interview

8. Conducting the Interview: Techniques that Work

9. After the Interview: Wrapping Up the Details

10. Processing: Making Oral History Materials Accessible

11. Additional Resources

12. Appendix

This primer was written by Barbara W. Sommer and Mary Kay Quinlan, based in part on their works, The Oral History Manual and The Native American Veterans Oral History Manual, a 2005 project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. It is also derived from the authors' extensive experience in presenting oral history workshops around the country. It uses a question-and-answer format which many oral historians have adopted when developing teaching materials and other publications and Websites such as this. Capturing the Living Past; An Oral History Primer was funded by a grant from the Nebraska Humanities Council.

 

 


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