Archival management of oral history collections


If you would like to be contacted when new training dates are announced please email with the subject line ‘Mailing list – training’.


This new course, run jointly by the British Library’s oral history department and the Oral History Society, is aimed at archivists and those managing audio archive material. The day 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.

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 twelve per course.

Course date

Dates to be announced

Course Structure

10:00-10:15 Welcome & Introductions

10:15-10:35 A brief history of oral history and archiving

10:35-11:00 Audio formats and digital preservation (Part I)
– practical group work

11:00-11.15 Coffee and tea

11:15-11:55 Audio formats and digital preservation (Part II)
– Identifying what you have (cassettes, reels, DAT, digital files)
– Storage (analogue and digital): short-term and long-term
– Funding suggestions for digital preservation

11:55-12:05 Mini break and practical session

12:05-13:30 Oral history archiving: legal and ethical issues
– Laws that affect oral histories (copyright, GDPR, FoI)
– Ethics (informed consent, confidentiality, creative commons)

13:30-14:15 Lunch (not provided)

14:15-15:30 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)

15:30-15:45 Coffee and tea

15:45-17:00 Working with partner projects: some models for engagement (including group work)
– Practical session
– Models for acquiring oral history collections
– Acting as archive partner for community groups/HLF projects/academic partners
– Working with vulnerable groups

17:00-17:30 Access and outreach
– Providing access (onsite and online) and promoting your oral history collections

Course prices

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:

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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: