Skip to Main Content

Oral History Project Guide: After the Interview

This guide describes how to plan and implement an oral history project.

Secure the Interview

After the interview, make certain that the recording of the interview is saved to a secure location and is accessible.

If you are given photographs or other materials to digitize, make certain that this is done promptly and return the originals  to the owner as soon as possible.


When your project is ready for public access, consider the following steps.

  • Let your interview participants know their interviews are being released.
  • Make sure you honor the terms of the release agreement; don't release it online unless this is permitted under the terms of the agreement.
  • If the project has an online interface, consider publicizing it on social media.
  • If you are using freely available platforms (Wordpress, Blogger, or other free services) to host your project, make sure the terms of use of the site will honor the release agreement of the project.
    • Read the terms of use for these sites carefully; many sites exchange free services for ownership of any content posted.




Transcripts of audio or video interviews are helpful tools for data analysis.  Once made, they should be reviewed alongside the interview recording to ensure accuracy.  Here are some things to consider for your transcription:

  • Will you hire someone for the transcription?
    • Ask for quotes for transcription services so you can budget for this service;
    • Give the transcription service a list of place names and people names so they don't have to guess on correct spelling.
  • Will you be doing the transcription yourself?
    • Be sure to plan plenty of time to transcibe: 15 minutes of interview = 1 hour of transcription.
    • Don't transcribe every pause in the conversation, such as filler words.
    • Record only what you hear; don't "fill in" details.
  • Share a copy of the transcript with your participants.  Ask them to review it for accuracy and double check spelling for people and place name.