Archival management of oral history collections


This course is being delivered online during the Covid-19 pandemic.


This course is run jointly by the British Library’s oral history department and the Oral History Society and is aimed at archivists and those managing audio archive material. The course covers the practical, technical and ethical issues around the selection, collection and description of oral history and other recorded personal testimony and spoken word on multiple audio formats.  It also explores opportunities that oral history-based partnerships offer archives for community engagement.

Before confirming your place the Training Administrator may contact you for further details about the audio collections you are working with.

Due to high demand and in order to ensure that each course has attendees with a variety of interests and backgrounds, only one person from any one institution may attend each course. Places are limited to eight participants per course.

Course date

Wednesday 21 April – Thursday 22 April 2021

Course Structure

This online training course is delivered over Zoom video call. Each course is run over two consecutive morning sessions, 9.30am – 1.15pm, with half hour breaks mid-morning. The programme for the course is as follows (please note this is a sample structure and may differ on the day):

First day: 9.30am – 1.15pm

09:30 – 09:45 Welcome & Introductions

09:45 – 10:05 A brief history of oral history and archiving

10:05 – 11.00 Audio formats and digital preservation
– Identifying what you have (cassettes, reels, DAT, digital files)
– Storage (analogue and digital): short-term and long-term
– Funding suggestions for digital preservation

11:00 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 13:00 Oral history archiving: legal and ethical issues
– Laws that affect oral histories (copyright, GDPR, FoI)
– Ethics (informed consent, confidentiality, creative commons)

13:00 – 13:15 Review of the day and Q&A

Second day: 9.30am – 1.15pm

09:30 – 11:00 Recording equipment, cataloguing, workflows, documentation
– Equipment (recorders, microphones) and new technology
– Oral history arrangement, accessioning and cataloguing
– Documentation that needs to be collected alongside recordings (recording agreements, summaries)

11:00 – 11:30 Break

11:30 – 12:15 Working with partner projects: some models for engagement (Part I)
– Group work

12:15 – 12:45 Working with partner projects: some models for engagement (Part II)
– Models for acquiring oral history collections
– Acting as archive partner for community groups/NLHF projects/academic partners
– Working with vulnerable groups

12:45 – 13:05 Access and outreach
– Providing access (onsite and online) and promoting your oral history collections

13:05 – 13:15 Review of the day and Q&A

Course prices 2021

Full attendance fee: £130.00
OHS/ARA member fee: £98.00

How to Book

Please note:

  • There will be no refunds for cancelled places
  • Due to high demand and in order to ensure that each course has attendees with a variety of interests and backgrounds, a maximum of one person from any one institution may attend each course.

The following OHS training dates are available:

Dates and timesLocationAvailabilityBooking
21/04/2021 - 22/04/2021
(9:30 am - 1:15 pm)
Zoom call, Time zone: London, United Kingdom
Places AvailableBook Now

If there are currently no dates found for courses please contact the training administrator if you would like to be notified of any future dates.

Question about training opportunities with the OHS?

For all questions relating to training (including further clarification of course content and reduced rate eligibility) please contact our training administrator.

Have you made an OHS training booking recently and not received a response?

We apologise if this has happened to you, we’ve had a glitch in the online system and may have missed some bookings. Please contact us if you’ve experienced a problem or not received a booking confirmation email within five working days: Michelle Winslow, Oral History Society Website Coordinator: