Culture and heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage

Talking history: oral history guidelines

Today oral history is an accepted part of much heritage work. It plays an important part in many OEH cultural heritage projects involving both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. OEH is a major player in 'telling the stories' about our landscape and the places people value across it.

OEH has produced oral history guidelines that bring together:

  • some of the background literature available about oral history theory and practice
  • relevant OEH policy and discussion papers
  • select practical information
  • links to a range of websites that include oral history, and
  • direction on designing interviews, interview techniques, recording equipment and project evaluation.

The guidelines should assist all researchers, regardless of experience, and provide enough information for someone to design and undertake an oral history project. For experienced oral history practitioners, the guidelines provide a reference to the essential basics and (through hyperlinks) some inspiration for future projects.

Oral history has evolved and changed. There have been legislative changes, technological innovations and deeper thinking around various ethical issues such as the obligations of the interviewer and the rights of the narrator, as well as debates around history and memory.

As good heritage practitioners we need to ensure that we undertake our oral history research in a professional and ethical manner. Such practice will enable us to continue to build relationships with communities and reveal the places and experiences that are important to them. This in turn helps us craft vivid and 'truer' histories and ultimately more meaningful experiences of place.

Documents to download

The format and structure of this publication may have been adapted for web delivery.

Page last updated: 10 June 2011