These resources are meant to assist oral history programs, other institutions, and researchers hoping to use oral histories as part of their scholarship and programming. In addition, we have provided links that we think are relevant to the practice and study of oral history and a list of texts about various aspects of oral history that we find useful.

Doing Oral History

Below is a link to our Oral History Manual; we have also provided sample copies of our release forms, our usage guidelines, and information about fellowship opportunities within the Center for Oral History and for the use of our collections. Specific questions regarding the entire scope of the oral history process—from interviewing to creating a finished product—can be directed to our staff. You can learn more about our oral history methodology and philosophy here.

  • Oral History Training Seminar (PPT) and Handouts (PDF)
    Our program follows specific guidelines and procedures for conducting, recording, processing, and preserving oral histories and provides details about the equipment we use. This is the general presentation we use for training people in the practice of oral history.
  • Release Forms, including our Preliminary Release Form, Final Release Form, Permission to Post Completed Transcript, and Work for Hire Agreements (PDF) 
    The act of conducting an oral history creates a text (visual, audio, or printed) that is copyrighted under U.S. law. We use these release forms in order to ensure that everyone involved in the conduct of an oral history—the Science History Institute, the interviewers, and the interviewees—is fully aware of his or her rights with regard to the interview and any products created and used for noncommercial, educational purposes. We strongly encourage all oral historians and oral history programs to create release forms of their own for everyone’s protection (please feel free to model your release forms on ours).
  • Fellowship and Learning Opportunities
    We regularly offer opportunities for researchers to visit us in order to use our collections and to participate in oral history training. We are also active participants in the oral history community and like to let people know about upcoming events.


Links to Other Programs and Organizations

For researchers, students, and those with a general interest in oral history, the Center for Oral History staff has created a list of science-related oral history programs, other noteworthy oral history programs that focus on areas outside of science, and relevant historical associations.