Do it: Learn How

Opportunities or resources for learning how to DO Oral History

Oral History Conference comes to Little Tokyo, Los Angeles March 31-April 3

SOHA logo. This year is the 30th anniversary of the Southwest Oral History Association. The Southwest Oral History Association (SOHA) holds its annual conference in Southern California every other year. This year: Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Also this year: two days of hands-on computer lab workshops! I am on the conference committee, and have been working on preparation for this conference. And yes, I’m the computer lab coordinator. Plus, I’ll be teaching a workshop on digital audio Thursday, March 31. If you’re in Southern California, and want to know about how to conduct interviews, or learn other skills about capturing and preserving stories, this is your opportunity.

SOHA Work Ahead Each conference features a day of workshops, from an introduction to oral history to other topics. This year, there are seven (count them, seven!) workshops. Two different ways to approach project management, taking an oral history transcript to a theatrical performance, a session all about audio and recording. Those workshops all take place Friday, April 1. (No fooling!)

The two days of computer lab workshops: Digital Audio and Digital Video.

There’s a three-workshop lineup that’s especially good if you’re starting out and want to capture the stories of your community: Intro to Oral History and the two project management workshops.

Friday night is a reception and film ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 25, 2011 in • Do it: Learn HowOral Historians
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Three Weeks to Jamboree: Interviewing Family

Interviewing Family (Jamboree countdown) badge Countdown to Jamboree in Burbank, California – Family Interview edition. Rise and shine early Sunday morning, June 13 at Jamboree and learn some good info about interviewing family. I’ll be leading two sessions – one on the skills of an interviewer, the second on the skills of an audio engineer. This week at Family Oral History Using Digital Tools I’ll be discussing different ways to come up with good questions to ask your family member when you sit down to interview him or her.

“I’m going to interview my Uncle Al. What do I ask?”

I get asked this question—a lot. What do you ask someone that you’re going to visit?

I’ll get more into the specifics of strategies of how to come up with questions to ask, but for now, I’ll give you a few tips on attitude.

Your job as an interviewer is to elicit information and stories from the other person. Period. The rest is just details.

All the pointers I’ll be offering are consistent with your job as story eliciter. (not to be confused with Story Elixer, though perhaps you want your questions to act as a kind of story elixer) The job is to elicit stories. I’ll tell you more about different ways to do that.

Your attitude ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 23, 2010 in • Do it: Learn HowGenealogyInterviewing
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How can I help you with your resolutions for 2010?

Happy 2010 to you. My biggest resolution is to help you with your New Year’s resolutions, especially if yours take the form of saying “I really ought to talk to my…” Mom or Dad or Grandpa or Grandma or Aunt or Uncle or family friend. And record that conversation. And then process it with your computer. And then archive it somehow.

In 2010, I wish to to devote more time and effort to this site than I did the last year, and here’s a toast to the posts, articles, reviews and videos that will appear here this year. I’m leery of getting too specific and too ambitious. (Been there, done that.) What can I write about that will help you?

On my own work with my own family oral histories, I have recordings of my dad and uncle—both veterans—that I want to finish processing and submit to the Veterans History Project.

I’ve got some family photos that I scanned. Or rather began scanning—there are so many more. I want to put them together in a MemoryMiner photo library to distribute to all the cousins (I’ve talked of this ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on January 01, 2010 in • Do it: Learn HowDo it: YourselfInterviewingPersonal
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At the Oral History Association Conference in Pittsburgh

Hello from Pittsburgh. I’m here for the Oral History Association annual meeting (conference). The theme: Oral History in the Digital Age. Today is the “workshops” day, with in-depth instruction on a number of topics.

Intro to Oral History interviewing (Oral History for newbies), Two part workshop on field recording—digital audio and digital video (I’m attending the digital video workshop). Oral History and the Law (agreements with interviewees, and how do you construct them to make an interview available to an archive or institution in perpetuity for the long-term?), digital preservation, “transforming the transcript” and a hands-on workshop for working with digitized audio and video using a particular software setup.

I’ll give a report about the digital video workshop. I’ve always wanted to cover digital video as well as audio. My strengths are in audio, and this is a good way to get up to ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on October 15, 2008 in • Do it: Learn HowOral Historians
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Schenectady, NY: Feb 21 Intro to Oral History + Folklore

Schenectady Gazette: Feb 21, 2pm (Thurs) at the Schenectady County Historical Society, there’ll be a presentation on how to conduct oral histories. The presenter is Ellen McHale, executive director of the Folklore Society, located in Schenectady. The Folklore Society participates in the Veterans History Project, too. Oh, and she’s taught workshops at the Erie Museum, Apple. (tee hee!) Small world.

I’m very stoked to see this Schenectady mention. My Mom grew up in Schenectady; her parents both worked at the General Electric Co. I’d been aware of the Schenectady Museum (lots of GE archives there, including some of my grandfather’s papers), and I’ve seen the Schenectady History site run, in part, by the library.

Thanks to this story, I’ve found a couple of new, Schenectady-related links:

Folklore Society. Man oh man, their links page is mighty rich.
Schenectady County Historical Society

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 11, 2008 in • Do it: Learn HowOral history in the news
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Spirit Lake, Idaho Oral History Project

Oral History training February 20th as part of effort to complete an oral history project for the Spirit Lake Centennial Celebration. The link leads to fellow blogger Miriam at Ancestories; she’s got all the details.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 09, 2008 in • Do it: Learn HowOral History Projects
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Snow Hill, Maryland: Oral History Workshop January 24

January 24, 1pm. Free to public. A workshop to learn how to do oral history at the Snow Hill Library.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on January 13, 2008 in • Do it: Learn How
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Another Oral History how-to guide

Published online by Indiana University’s Center for the Study of History and Memory. Before the Interview, At the Interview, After the Interview… and references. Nice, brief, and to the point.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 19, 2006 in • Do it: Learn How
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Sunday, June 11: Vloggercon in San Francisco: I talk Oral History

Vloggercon, Oral History, Digital Stories and Mother’s Day: I’ve been hard at work creating a digital story from an interview I conducted with my Mother on Mother’s Day. I’ll be showing it tomorrow (Sunday, June 11, 3:15 pm) at the Vloggercon panel on Digital Storytelling and Oral History.

Sessions are streamed live over the web (link to live streams here; my session takes place in the Valhalla room). The video will be available afterwards for viewing, too.

It took all week to create a 3-minute video. Lots of motion graphics; I took a motion graphics class a year ago; I got to put it all to use for this. It’s prolly a bit over-the-top as far as digital storytelling goes, and I’m very pleased with the result. (my boyfriend looked at it and said, “You may intimidate people with it; they’ll look at it and say, “I have to do all that?!” Good point. But I’ve done graphic design for decades…) Will prolly post it online and link to it one of these days once things get back ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on June 10, 2006 in • AfterwardsDo it: Learn HowPersonal History
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Yo, Los Angeles! Learn How (free)!

Saturday, April 22, 2006, Forest Lawn is holding a workshop: Collect Your Family’s Oral History. 2-5 pm. Brad Williams is teaching it. Follow the link to reserve your spot in the workshop.

Alas, I cannot attend that day. But I attended a workshop led by Williams two years ago (held on two consecutive Saturdays); it was excellent.

Want to preserve your family’s favorite stories? Then this is your opportunity! Join us and learn how easy it is to capture those memories for future generations. Bring a favorite family story to share and a portable tape recorder, if you have one. You will practice recording your story and interviewing fellow participants about their own. Oral historian Brad Williams provides expert advice and helps you build the confidence to start immediately. Tape recorders will be available to borrow and handouts will help you when you get home.

...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 03, 2006 in • Do it: Learn How
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Learn How in Portland, OR April 27, 2006

Two introductory workshops will be held the first day of the Pacific Northwest History Conference, April 27-29 [PDF file]. Each workshop costs $50; admission to main conference is not required. I’m inquiring whether conference fee is required if you wish to attend workshops only. At Doubletree Hotel on Multnomah Street in Portland.

Descriptions of Workshops from the Conference Program:

NOHA Workshop A
Introduction to Oral History
Instructor: Brad Williams, Director, Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, Pasadena, California

NOHA Workshop B
History in the Digital Age: Digital Recording and Archiving
Instructor: Doug Boyd, Kentucky Oral History Commission

I’ve attended a workshop by Brad Williams in the L.A. area and the man simply rocks. You’ll learn tons from him. I’ve heard good things about Doug Boyd’s presentations on digital formats; I wish I could speak from personal experience.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 23, 2006 in • Do it: Learn HowDo it: Yourself
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Baltimore Oral History Conference next week

Yo, Baltimore-area people! Oral History Conference March 23 and 24. Special beginner session March 23. Held at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for Maryland African American History and Culture, in Baltimore, Maryland. (assuming there’s space available—I’ve only just inquired, will post update when I hear back, you can go to both conference and beginner session for $95)

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 18, 2006 in • Do it: Learn How
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Free How To session offered at Forest Lawn

How to do Oral History at Forest Lawn: June 19 and 26

This Press release announces two hands on learning sessions for conducting oral history.

Forest Lawn will offer Collecting Oral History: A “How to” Workshop Saturday, June 19, 2004, and Saturday, June 26, 2004, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (reservations requested) at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive. The event is the first in a three-part workshop “Celebrate the Memorial Impulse: Collecting and Preserving Family Memories.” This series will provide an adult audience of all ages with opportunities to learn how to memorialize their lives and family histories and to preserve treasured family photographs, letters, and memorabilia.

The Collecting Oral History event will ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on June 12, 2004 in • Do it: Learn How
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