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What is oral history?
Oral history is spoken history. It is the recording of people’s unique memories and life stories.
It uses personal reminiscences as an alternative and complementary source to the documents on which historians normally rely.
Oral history is not only a way in which historians can discover more about the past, but is also a historical discipline in its own right with specific methods and ethics.
It can be used to research family history, the history of a particular community, such as a village or street, or can contribute detailed knowledge to wider topics. These include major events like World War 2, themes like personal and family relationships not generally directly recorded, or changes in the physical surroundings of street, landscape and housing.
Oral history offers both objective and subjective evidence of places and people in ways difficult or impossible to find from other sources or for earlier periods.
This section will contain information on:
Collecting oral history, Using oral history, Further reading and Useful links