Oral History Metadata and Description: A Survey of Practices

Lauren Kata, Jaycie Vos, Natalie Milbrodt, Steven Sielaff

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


From December 2016 through February 2019, fifty-eight oral history practitioners who self-identified as collections managers, archivists, librarians, oral historians, catalogers, community project managers, journalists, moving image archivists, and media specialists participated in a survey conducted by the Oral History Association Metadata Task Force (MTF). The purpose of the survey was to learn more about how oral history practitioners describe their collections to enable discovery and accessibility for the wider public. Understanding that landscape view has
been a critical foundational step for the MTF in the development of 21st-century guidelines and tools for the thoughtful and useful selection and creation of oral history metadata. This white paper summarizes and presents these survey results, which not only provide information on current practices across institution and collection types throughout the US, but also suggest the need for a broad, nuanced, and inclusive approach to oral history description as a way to ensure access to both the content and the context of oral history interviews and collections.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOral History Association
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2020


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