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University of Oregon
UO Libraries

Doing Oral History on a Shoestring

This how-to guide was created to support the 3-hour workshop "Doing Oral History on a Shoestring" taught by Kate Thornhill, UO Libraries, and Chris Petersen, OSU Libraries.

About the Instructors

Kate Thornhill's Portrait

Kate Thornhill, Public Scholarship Librarian

Phone: 541-346-3714

Websites: Eugene Masonic Cemetery Oral History Project, Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project, Casa y Comunidad, The Healers Project

Primary Duties:

I help UO researchers and scholars breakdown information communication gaps between academia and the general public. These take shape through interactive and creative online storytelling projects by way of interviews, oral history, digital archives, and websites that heavily use multimedia.

Chris Petersen's Portrait

Chris Petersen, Archivist for Oral History and Digital Projects

Phone: (541) 737-2810

Websites: SCARC Oral History ProgramSCARC in Oregon DigitalSCARC in OSU MediaSpaceLinus Pauling Online

Primary Duties:

I administer the SCARC Oral History Program and help facilitate digital projects activities in our department. I am also SCARC's lead for electronic records accessioning and web archiving. I curate many of our film and video collections, and have worked extensively with the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers.

Guide Ownership & Permissions

About the Workshop & this Resource

Doing Oral History on a Shoestring Workshop

A hands-on workshop designed to equip participants with practical skills for developing low cost oral history projects within their cultural organizations. It promises to ready you with actionable knowledge and skills to navigate the complexities of the oral history process whether you're embarking on a new endeavor or seeking to enhance existing initiatives.

Led by experienced professionals from the University of Oregon Libraries and Oregon State University Libraries & Press, this how-to do oral histories workshop introduces and orients learners to:

  • Best practices for every stage of the oral history life cycle: including interviewing, recording, preservation, and online dissemination.
  • Introduction to interviewing methods and ethics, archival strategies essential for collecting and safeguarding oral narratives, and giving access to your oral history collection
  • Guidance on free or low-cost tools that they can use to provide access to their projects.

Workshop designed for learners at the 2024 Oregon Heritage Conference. April 17-20, Forest Grove

About this resourceThis resource is meant to be an open education resource for anyone interested in learning the foundations of doing oral histories with limited resources. You'll be able to find all presentation materials, activities, hand-outs, templates, and agreement forms that were discussed and shared during the workshop.

If you would like to get in touch with the instructors then please reach out to Kate & Chris through e-email. They're happy to chat with you.

Additional resources like templates can be found in this folder.

You can find samples to reuse. More than what is listed below is available for you to adapt. All shared materials are in copyright and licensed with Creative Commons BY-NC.

  • Permission form templates
  • Photo releases
  • Project Log Glossary
  • Project Log spreadsheet example
  • Interviewing and Ethics Best Practices

Workshop Slides