Oral history booklet available from society Information on conducting oral histories is available in a booklet now available from the South Dakota State Historical Society.
The booklet, A Beginner's Guide to Oral Histories, is divided into four sections: "Getting Started," "Planning an Oral History Project," "Preserving Sound and Video Archives" and "Additional Resources."
"Getting Started" will help those who want to begin recording the stories of their family members and friends, and provides tips on types of equipment to use, preparing the interviewee and place, conducting the interview, making copies and transcripts, and preserving the oral histories. It also includes a list of sample interview questions.
"Planning an Oral History Project" provides additional information for local historical societies or groups that intend to conduct many interviews, and provides tips on seeking grant support.
"Preserving Sound and Video Archives" provides information for repositories that have or intend to collect oral history recordings, and "Additional Resources" provides information on oral history organizations and publications for those who wish to learn more about the subject.
"Oral histories can be a valuable source of information for future generations especially if they provide information from people who can not or will not write it down," said Marvene Riis, archivist/librarian for the State Historical Society. "They can be particularly meaningful to family members and can help younger individuals understand and appreciate the experiences of their elders."
Publication of the booklet fulfills one of the goals of the South Dakota State Historical Records Advisory Board's 2001 Strategic Plan to improve public awareness of historical records and provide training and education opportunities. It was funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, an agency of the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC.
The booklet is available free by contacting the archives of the State Historical Society at (605) 773-3804 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The State Historical Society is an office of the Department of Tourism and State Development.