This is a good resource! Thanks for pointing it out.
Modern oral history recordists have much higher-fidelity possibilities even with a cheap digital
recorder. The built-in mics tend to be better than what was on the typical cassette recorder of the
70s and 80s, and you no longer have to worry about "dime store brand" cassettes, tape slowing to a
crawl before batteries run out, etc. What you DO have to do today is be mindful of battery level,
make sure the thing is actually recording (and double-check to verify this condition frequently) and
understand that most of these things record in stereo for better or worse, so placement of the
built-in mic is somewhat important if you want good audibility. I think we need to train oral
history interviewers NOT to sit across a table from someone. Rather, they should sit caddy-corner to
each other and the recorder should be place so each person is facing the "front" of a microphone. If
the interviewee is a quiet talker, the recorder should be placed close to them. Interviewers should
be taught DON'T TOUCH THE RECORDER WHILE IT'S RECORDING UNLESS YOU MUST. This seems to have never
been told to people in the cassette era! Many cassettes I've transferred have long segments of
rubbing and scrapes, loud bumping noises and other evidence that someone had their hand on or near
the microphone or recorder. Sheesh!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bert Lyons" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2015 12:25 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP, SAN DIEGO AREA, MARCH 19
> Tom --
> The Oral History in the Digital Age project produced many such videos and
> hosts a site full of detailed and up-to-date information about practicing
> oral history today:
> Best --
> Bertram Lyons, CA
> AVPreserve | www.avpreserve.com
> American Folklife Center | www.loc.gov/folklife
> International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives |
> On Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 10:39 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> Hi Nancy:
>> Has your organization, or any similar organization, ever produced videos
>> along the lines of "the do's and don't's of oral history recording?" If so,
>> it would be very helpful to have them on YouTube, and perhaps Kim Peach
>> could link to them from the ARSC website.
>> If such videos have never been produced, I think they would be helpful for
>> amateur recordists. Having transferred now more than a thousand oral
>> history tapes, I can tell that many recordists go out there with great
>> intentions but no technical training. They end up with sometimes barely
>> audible results, which is a shame given their intentions. This can be
>> prevented with very basic training about mic placement, how to seat an
>> interviewer and interviewee at a table, etc.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Nancy MacKay" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Monday, March 02, 2015 10:55 AM
>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] ORAL HISTORY WORKSHOP, SAN DIEGO AREA, MARCH 19
>> The Southwest Oral History Association presents a one-day community oral
>>> history workshop.
>>> WHEN: March 19, 2015, 9:30-4:30
>>> WHERE: Del Mar Branch Library, Del Mar, California (about 20 miles north
>>> of San Diego)
>>> COST: $65 + opportunity to purchase Community Oral History Toolkit at a
>>> deep discount
>>> NOTE: this is a part of the the Southwest Oral History Association
>>> conference but registration is separate. See announcement and the
>>> registration form here, http://www.southwestoralhistory.org/2015_
>>> Workshop_Flyer.pdf. For more information contact Nancy MacKay and
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> For more information on the SoHA conference: http://www.
>>> Presenters: Nancy MacKay, Mary Kay Quinlan, Barbara W. Sommer
>>> Nancy MacKay, oral historian, educator, and writer, teaches oral history
>>> and library science in the School of Information, San Jose State University
>>> and is series editor for /Practicing Oral History/, Left Coast Press.
>>> Mary Kay Quinlan, Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Journalism
>>> and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, teaches classes in
>>> news reporting and writing and in oral history. She is editor of the /Oral
>>> History Association Newsletter/.
>>> Barbara W. Sommer has directed or co-directed numerous oral history
>>> projects over more than three decades.
>>> Workshop attendees are invited to attend the Welcome conference
>>> Reception following the workshop.
>>> Nancy MacKay
>>> Berkeley, Caliornia
>>> [log in to unmask]
>>> Lecturer, School of Information
>>> San Jose State University