Tom's suggestion of recording in stereo is absolutely on the mark. It's so
much easier to 'decode' audio in a noisy environment from a two-channel
pickup. If you've ever recorded a lecture that way while sitting in the
audience, you know how effective this can be.
To another point: I've found several new cassette recorders and packed them
away in their blister-packs along with a box of new cassettes.
(I also admit doing the same thing with Minidisks...but those are headed for
> One mic per person usually works well, but I've heard very nicely audible
> group-discussion things made with a well-placed stereo mic.
> Here's what may be a controversial notion. If you have made an oral
> history recording that is of great value to you and your family, I would
> suggest that it's prudent to record a backup of the final edited product
> to ... cassette! Why? They are cockroaches -- they seem to last very well
> over decades when stored properly. There will likely be playback gear
> around for decades to come (if you have any doubts, go online and buy a
> couple of $20 Walkmans, they are still sold).