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Oral History: Home

Resources available through Western Libraries and its Archives & Special Collections.


A guide to finding oral histories through Western Libraries, focusing on resources available through Archives & Special Collections or online.

Guide to the Collection of Oral History Interviews on Whatcom County (Wash.) and Regional History 

What is Oral History?

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 Archives & Special Collections (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.  

Archives & Special Collections

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Archives & Special Collections
Special Collections, 6th Floor Wilson Library, 360-650-3193

University Archives and Records Management, Goltz-Murray Building, 360-650-3124

Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Goltz-Murray Building, 360-650-7534

Archives & Special Collections


Western Libraries Archives & Special Collections 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, Special Collections, and University Archives and Records Management 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.