A guide to finding oral histories through Western Libraries, focusing on resources available through the Heritage Resources programs or online.
What is Oral History?
Definition n. ~ 1. An interview that records an individual's personal recollections of the past and historical events. – 2. The audio or video recordings, transcripts, and other materials that capture and are associated with such an interview.
Citations †156 (Klopfer 2001, p. 112): Documents described as oral histories range from personal reminiscences to structured interviews to recordings of contemporary thoughts or events saved for posterity. The arrangement of oral histories also range from raw tapes to edited tapes, translations, transcripts, re-wordings, syntheses and interpretations.
[Definition from Richard Peace-Moses, A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. Society of American Archivists, 2005 (accessed 2011 April 25)].
Where Can I Access Oral Histories?
Western Libraries Reference staff can assist you in accessing published works about or containing oral histories. Useful terms for searching the libraries catalog include: "Oral history" and "oral tradition."
We also encourage you to access oral history transcripts and recordings available through Western Libraries' Heritage Resources programs (see "Oral history collections at Western").
Resources from the Western Libraries Catalog
More Campus Connections
WWU's Fairhaven College and Woodring College of Education offer credit courses about oral history and oral traditions in storytelling. Check out the WWU Course Catalog for more information.
Special Collections, 6th Floor Wilson Library, 360-650-3193
University Archives and Records Center, Goltz-Murray Building, 360-650-3124
Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Goltz-Murray Building, 360-650-7534
The Heritage Resources unit provides for responsible stewardship of and access to unique and archival resources in support of teaching, learning and research at Western Washington University and beyond. The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Western Libraries Special Collections, and WWU Archives and Records Center work together to document the culture and history of Western, the local community and Pacific Northwest region, and to promote public and scholarly access to holdings.