Why Oral History



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Memory becomes history in our collection of primary source interviews

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What is Oral History?


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Why Oral History?

People have been collecting oral histories for years, but with the current state of digital technology, it has never been easier or cheaper to record, store and make available oral history recordings.

 Today's technology makes recording oral histories easier than it has ever been

Today’s technology makes recording oral histories easier than it has ever been

For the historical record, oral histories serve a range of purposes, they can help us to shed light on gaps in the written record of history, and can help us to discover not just what happened, but why it happened, and why people acted the way they did in the situations that they found themselves in.

Oral histories are also an important primary source, where participants in events get to tell their own story in their own words, to have a direct input into, and a direct impact on, the historical record.

And, with oral histories being ever easier to produce, we are able to record and preserve the stories of many people that would otherwise never be heard, and to add their voice to the pattern of our history.

But the Gawler Oral History Project is not simply about the past, it is also about the future, and what identity and sense of community we will pass on to those born tomorrow. It is about collecting the stories and experiences that make up our identity as a community, it is about showing those in the future who we are now. It’s about creating our history for the future, now.

More about Oral History

It’s not just us at the GOHP who see the importance of collecting and preserving Oral History. All over the world there are groups and organisations taking advantage of today’s technologies to record the experiences of people from all walks of life.

In the US, Oral History is becoming recognised as a distinct method of historical enquiry, and universities across the States are offering courses in how to collect, handle, preserve and distribute the oral histories of peoples and groups from all across the globe and economic spectrum.

But still, the two most frequent questions asked about Oral History are:

1) What is Oral History?

2) Why is it important.

So we found these videos that might help explain some answers to those questions!

What is Oral History?

Why do Oral History?

What is Oral History? Dr. Alexander Freund Co-Director of the University of Winnipeg’s Oral History Centre explains the theory, practice and value of oral history. 

Why is oral history important? What is oral history? How is it different than a simple interview? From the The Minnesota Historical Society  

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