Oral History and Sound Collections

Oral history

Oral history is the recording of people’s unique life experiences in an interview format.

Oral history complements the more traditional forms of history making such as written histories and biographies and preserves for future generations a sound portrait of who we are in the present and what we remember about the past. It also preserves voices and accents representative of different time periods and social backgrounds. 

In the words of oral historian Paul Thompson, oral history is 


…a history built around people. It thrusts life into history itself and it widens its scope. It allows heroes not just from the leaders, but from the unknown majority of the people … It brings history into, and out of, the community.

Paul Thompson, the Voice of the Past Oral History, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1978, p18.


The development of digital technologies over the last decade offers new opportunities to discover, understand and interact with the past in the words of those who lived it.

What's New?