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Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide [Paperback]

Donald A. Ritchie

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Book Description

7 July 2005
Oral history is vital to our understanding of the cultures and experiences of the past. Unlike written history, oral history forever captures people's feelings, expressions, and nuances of language. But what exactly is oral history? How reliable is the information gathered by oral history? And what does it take to become an oral historian? Donald A. Ritchie, a leading expert in the field, answers these questions and in particular, explains the principles and guidelines created by the Oral History Association to ensure the professional standards of oral historians.
Doing Oral History has become one of the premier resources in the field of oral history. It explores all aspects of oral history, from starting an oral history project, including funding, staffing, and equipment to conducting interviews; publishing; videotaping; preserving materials; teaching oral history; and using oral history in museums and on the radio. In this second edition, the author has incorporated new trends and scholarship, updated and expanded the bibliography and appendices, and added a new focus on digital technology and the Internet. Appendices include sample legal release forms and information on oral history organizations.
Doing Oral History is a definitive step-by-step guide that provides advice and explanations on how to create recordings that illuminate human experience for generations to come. Illustrated with examples from a wide range of fascinating projects, this authoritative guide offers clear, practical, and detailed advice for students, teachers, researchers, and amateur genealogists who wish to record the history of their own families and communities.

Frequently Bought Together

Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide + Voice of the Past: Oral History (Opus Books) + The Oral History Reader (Routledge Readers in History)
Price For All Three: 64.24

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Product Description


"A comprehensive handbook on the theory, methods, and practice of oral history, based on work by the Oral History Association to revise its professional standards and principles."—

About the Author

(on a previous edition)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Memory is the core of oral history, from which meaning can be extracted and preserved. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ABCs of Oral History 30 Jun 2001
By "reday000" - Published on
Ritchie covers the topic like a blanket. Everything from how to manage one's collection and stay out of legal trouble with the interviewee (and anyone you may discuss); down to remembering to punch out the little tabs on the back of each cassette in order to prevent accidental erasure.
This is a very complete and very practical guide to the processes and thinking of our country's oral historians from an author who's been in the middle of some pretty interesting stories.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Know what you're doing 21 Oct 2006
By J. Fountain - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book delivers on what it promises. Beware, however, that while the author addresses interviews conducted by individual researchers, the book isn't much good for people looking to do that sort of work. Oral history is a more specific kind of work than what your ninth grade history teacher may have led you to believe (go figure!). I still think that a chapter addressing interview techniques would have been appropriate in the structure of the whole book. As it is, the text is written in q&a format, which annoyed me slightly, but it serves.

Verdict: useful for anyone looking to do oral history per se and wanting a guide to the various theoretical and practical issues involved.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oral history of family is priceless! 8 Aug 2008
By Linda Baumann - Published on
We first heard about this book on the radio back in early is a marvelous tool to guide an interview of grandparent or parent, or even self, to record one's memories and family history. The book provided a concise outline to follow so that family history, stories, and memories can be passed down on DVD or CD. We have used it with our parents and given copies to siblings and grandchildren, and learned the benefit following the passing of a loved one - priceless! We even plan to do ourselves for our children. Probably the best and most unique legacy to leave!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, Easy to Follow 3 Feb 2014
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got this book for the first time I was in a Gaming Law class. Professor Ritchie is an excellent teacher and I found this book helpful. I bought a second copy, this time on the kindle. If you are learning to interview people, this book is a real asset.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best guides for doing oral history 29 Aug 2013
By Murem - Published on
Don Ritchie, now the senior Historian for the United States Senate, wrote this user-friendly and highly informative guide for, indeed, doing oral history. It is written in a way that anyone from a novice to a pro can understand what to do and how to do it. Having had the honor to meet Don in person, his writing style is just like him. Don speaks clearly, professionally, and with a great sense of humor. He is a master storyteller, of course. I hope he writes an update to the book, since technologies for recording and sharing oral histories change regularly. For example, the Evoca voice recording service offers several ways to record, save and share interviews digitally, whether in person, on the phone, or when using Skype. I also hope he writes a book about his own experiences in the U.S. Senate over the decades he has been capturing the histories of Senators and staff members.
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