An Oral History Society Special Interest Group

Archives and oral history

Bringing together those who work with and within archives to preserve and provide access to oral histories.


Archiving has been central to the UK oral history movement since its formation, but the role of archivists in relation to oral histories is often misunderstood. Archives play an essential role in creating, preserving and providing access to oral histories: sponsoring and undertaking oral history interviews to fill gaps in their collections; taking in, providing appropriate storage, and digitising older, analogue recording formats; managing shifts in storage requirements for born-digital recordings; cataloguing, transcribing, writing detailed finding aids, and making oral histories accessible to the public.

Archives are a source of funding, innovation, project support and training, and can form partnerships with communities, academics and practitioners. Oral historians and archivists have a lot to learn from and give to one other, and their mutual understanding and collaboration is important.

What is the Archives and Oral History Special Interest Group?

The Archives and Oral History SIG (AO-SIG) aims to bring together members of the Oral History Society to raise awareness of archives and archival practice, support professional development, promote networking, encourage the sharing of interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise, promote underused or little known oral history/sound collections, share news and resources between archivists and oral historians, and develop the history/oral history of archives, and archives and oral history.

AO-SIG’s purpose is to

  • Connect, support, and maintain a networking forum to encourage dialogue and sharing of experience and expertise, and to bring together oral historians and archivists;
  • Discuss and share best practice advice on cataloguing, describing, preserving and providing access to oral histories;
  • Provide support to oral historians looking to archive oral histories, and to archives who want to work with oral historians;
  • Organise and host training, educational, and networking events to bring oral historians and archivists together, and inform the wider public;
  • Share latest news and developments; 
  • Engage archives with the OHS, including those which may be currently underrepresented or under the radar such as community archives and business archives;
  • Help and support the Society in formulating policies and policy responses with respect to critical issues relating to archives;
  • Undertake and encourage research into the history of archives, and of archives and oral history.

Join us

We welcome new members. For more information or to join the group, please contact the Secretary Amelia Allsop or the Chair Charlie Morgan and they will respond to you as soon as they can.

How to include archiving in the workflow of your oral history project
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