|Image: 2009.6.13.49.1579 - Iona Campagnolo at interview for CBC radio|
For centuries the communication of historical information was exclusively oral. With the advent of writing, however, people came to rely almost entirely on written documents for
information about the past, but much that was communicated orally was lost. The advent of sound recording technology has once more enabled students of the past to collect and use information communicated by speech.
Oral history, therefore, refers to recorded interviews with individuals about the past, or first-person reminiscences. The primary form of the oral history document is the recorded human voice. This document, in turn, may be applied as informational source material or directly in sound or transcribed form.
Among those who create and use oral history are professional historians, family and local historians, journalists, broadcasters, archivists, educators, folklorists and sociologists. The Canadian Oral History Association recognizes these practitioners and other kinds of users and is open to those in allied fields who use sound recordings as cultural records.
The Northern BC Archives (NBCA) has a large collection of oral histories and interviews detailing past life in numerous Northern BC communities and beyond. What makes these collections particularly significant to this region is that much of the history of Northern BC is still unrecorded/unwritten/and lies within the memory of its residents. Therefore it’s crucial that we take an active role in the recording of individuals & communities histories and preserving those histories to be made accessible for future researchers. The NBCA houses records created by many authors, scholars, and researchers who collected oral histories through their work. This guide only provides an overview of our oral history holdings, to find more enter the following search strategy into our database: "oral history" OR "oral histories" OR interview*
Do you have questions about how to conduct/gather oral history interviews? Do you want to interview someone for a class project? Do you want to record and preserve the memories of your friends or relatives? Are you interviewing people for a book or article on a history of a community? If so, please see our guide on Conducting Oral Histories for tips to ensure that your interviews can be preserved and made available for future access.
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