Oral History Interview Techniques

Reviewed By: Jenny Flores


This website is a project of the White House Millennium Council, and was produced by the U.S. Embassy to the Netherlands. It has no copyright date, but the last entry on the calendar is July 6, 2000. Although the site is not up to date, it contains valuable information pertaining to oral history collection and preservation. Each article is attributed, and the website is easily navigated and very professional in appearance. The article on "Oral History Interview Techniquesm," to which this URL directs the user, is by Joop Wahlain. It starts with an introduction on the importance of oral history and some of the concerns about it, such as the accuracy of the memory of the interviewee. The article then goes on to instruct the reader in how to conduct the interview. There are 3 sections. "Before the Interview" discusses research, formulating research questions, ordering questions, how to be objective, and the importance of being tactful, among other topics. "During the Interview" advises the interviewer on setting up and checking equipment before the interview begins. "After the Interview" advises the interviewer on the importance of organizing notes immediately, while the interview is still fresh in the memory. The information contained in this article is very useful to the beginning oral historian, or a non-professional interested in recording family history. The site's value could be improved by a credits page and links to other oral history sites. For example, the reader is not informed as to Joop Wahlain's credentials or connection to the topic.