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Oral History Collections

Oral histories in museums - some useful links and guidelines


Museums often have stored oral history archives on a variety of different formats. These need looking after to ensure they are accessible in the future. The series of guides below work through audio-archiving best practice.


We have laid out advice for handling, storage and cleaning of audio carriers. Whether your archives are on: wax cylinders, vinyl and shellac discs, reel to reels, cassettes, CDs, DVDs or minidiscs.


The East Midlands Oral History Archive have helpful advice on looking after archives.


The Council on Library and Information Resources contains many other useful reports.


To make archives accessible for the future, read the digitisation of audio archives .   This outlines priorities, technical requirements, guidance on the recording process and editing tips.

The National Archives website has a useful guide on creating digital audio files.

Your new / newly digitised oral histories also need archiving for the future. Read our advice for archiving and filing your oral histories.


The British Library National Sound Archive hosts the ‘Unlocking Audio’ conferences. The papers from these are published on their website.

The International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives includes documents on audio archiving.


Once you have archived your digitised recordings, read this summary of potential uses .   This has examples of using oral histories as well as discussing copyright law.


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