Hi Barbara,

If you want to do telephone interviews, you will get much better quality 
by using a high-quality microphone on the interviewer's side (Shure SM7, 
ElectroVoice RE-20 are classics; Rode makes some 
very nice ones at good prices) and an interface like this one:

Even better quality is achieved (but with far more work) by doing a tape 
sync: You hire someone to record the interviewee and interviewer 
separately at their locations,  and later edit it all  into one seamless 
interview. This is how radio interviews are often done.

To record in person, it depends a lot on the setup and how noisy the 
environment is. Tabletop PZM mics often work well because they are less 
physically intrusive and distracting for the interviewee: (tip: place them on a mouse 
pad to dampen tabletop rumble).

Finally, although expensive, I have only heard good things from the 
Sound Devices family of audio recorders: Marantz also makes 
well-respected machines such as the PMD-660

Make sure you record your oral histories as good-quality wav files, and 
only generate the lower-quality file when you are ready to podcast.

As for archiving, I would use hard drives with redundancy, be it tape , 
RAID, or all of the above.

Good luck!


> 1. We have just conducted our first podcasts to be available online in 
> the near future.  These were done over the phone through a contracted 
> conference-call company. The sound quality is good for the interviewee 
> but the interviewer's in-phone mike is causeing some 'slurring' 
> sounds.  Could you recommend an external mike for a phone? Is there 
> something more low-tech which might be used to reduce this problem 
> (I've heard that covering the mike holes with something like cotton or 
> foam works)?  Is there a particular model of podcast quality phone 
> that you can recommend?   

> 2.  For non-podcast oral histories done by phone what equipment would 
> you recommend? Phone make and model? Mike to attach to phone?
> 3.  For oral histories done in person what equipment would you recommend?
> 4.  What is the best way to archive these until they find a permanent 
> home and which would be acceptable to a library?  On what media: cd, 
> dvd, dv or magnetic tape?  Is it okay to house them in a standard 
> climate controlled self-storage unit?
> 5. What cataloging system do you recommend?  What easy-to-use software 
> might facilitate transfer to a library archive in the foreseeable future?
> Any help you might lend will be greatly appreciated.  We have an 
> impending deadline to use our budget so time is of the essence.
> Thank you in advance for your responses,
> Barbara Egan