This group is for exchanging information, ideas, issues and thoughts relating to all aspects of oral history.

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  • Thanks for that Caroline. I had found Audacity on the net, along with Wavepad, but I know very little about either. I would very appreciate obtaining more about the use of Audacity from you.

  • Hi Peter,

    I have worked with audio cassettes in the past year and converted them to digital form using Audacity which is a free Windows audio program. A cassette tape deck was connected from the headphone jack directly to the microphone port of the PC and playback recorded. You can adjust the recording options and quality in Audacity. It appears to be quite a flexible audio program.

    I don't have the specifications of the equipment used with me at the moment. This was done as a part of a digital arts preservation project I'm currently volunteering for. If you are interested in the process, please contact me and I will forward the details when back at the office next Monday.

    Kind regards,


  • Thanks Lynette

  • Hi Peter,

    The following link from our National Preservation Office may be of use to you in deciding how to go about this:

    Lynette Shum

    Oral History Adviser

    Alexander Turnbull Library

    National Library of New Zealand

    Digitisation of heritage audio collections
    You may want to digitise your audio collections to make them more accessible, but it’s also an essential step in preserving that material for the fut…
  • Digitisation of  Audiocassette interviews?

    Can anyone help? We have many audio cassettes containing oral history interviews (many from people who have now passed away) and we wish to have them in a digital format to preserve them safely and to allow greater ease of access for our stakeholders. Does anyone know of or have worked with a Windows based program that will allow us to undertake this?  

  • Of particular and ongoing interest on the Oral History Australia website is their blog, which includes summaries of the conference sessions from their biennial national conference in Adelaide in September:

  • logo.png?width=400What is Oral History Australia?

    The Oral History Association of Australia (OHAA) was formed in 1978 and in 2013 was re-named Oral History Australia (OHA). It remains a non-profit body whose members practise and promote oral history. There are branches in each state, with the Northern Territory being affiliated with South Australia and the ACT with New South Wales.

    The aims of OHA are:

    • to promote the practice and methods of oral history
    • to educate in the use of oral history methods
    • to encourage discussions on all aspects of oral history
    • to foster the preservation of oral history records

    State and National conferences are held regularly, focusing on current and future oral history projects as well as ongoing and evolving issues such as ethics and copyright. National conferences usually include international speakers.

    The constitution of Oral History Australia can be accessed here: Oral_History_Australia_Inc_Constitution_adopted_22.9.13.pdf

    Most state branches hold regular meetings, seminars and workshops to meet the objectives of the organisation.

    Branches encourage members to lodge their work with libraries and archives for preservation and the benefit of other researchers.

    Some branches provide recording equipment either free or at very low rates to members, or can recommend institutions which do.

    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 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
    • to trace the history of a local community
    • for family history
    • to encourage children to treat people as living history books, at the same time increasing understanding between generations
    • for research purposes in tertiary education studies
    • 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
    • for inclusion in interactive websites
  • Hi All

    Im sorry I've been so swamped I havent had time to respond to emails. There's has been quite a lot of 'off air' interest in us having this discussion group. As Melinda Barrie said " Having a community where ideas and experiences can be shared is invaluable".

    Already we have been opening up the discussion along these themes.

    1. What is oral history? Is it just a story? Another form of history? How reliable is memory...

    2. The challenges and rewards of conducting oral history in the digital age.

    3. Sharing methods, practices and insights ( Mary Lush wrote an article that  she felt could be a good one to discuss - if you could post a copy Mary that would be great!)

    4. Is this discussion group duplicating the work of OHAA Australia or Oral History NSW ?

    5. As a collecting institution how do we find out about community projects?

    6. Is there enough planning when we start an OH project re eventual storage or a'home' for that project? 

    7. What do we do with oral histories once they are done? What insitutions want them?

    8. Am I an oral historian if I use a camera to record them?

    We all have a lot of questions so having this community to share and 'release' ideas, is fantastic. Thank you Archives Live. I'm looking forward to us talking!

  • I wonder about the term 'oral history' and how it conceptualised in different practices. Is oral history a story that is told? Is it a story that is shared and then told? Or a story that is a remembering?

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