State Library of South Australia

Donating oral histories

Oral history is the recording of memories of peoples' unique life experiences. It is a record of information gathered on tape as the result of a planned interview, and is a means of documenting the past by asking questions of people who have lived through a period or an event of interest. Through oral history the past comes alive as people share their lives.

The JD Somerville Oral History Collection was established in 1987 as the central repository for unpublished oral history tapes and transcripts in South Australia. The collection is intended to provide an oral record of all aspects of the South Australian experience and particularly of those who are poorly represented in documentary records, such as low income earners, people of non-English speaking background, women, and country people. The collection also provides a representative sample of the various uses of oral history, such as academic, commissioned, local history, community arts, school and family history.

The State Library's Archival Field Officer provides advice on designing and managing an oral history project and ongoing support once the project is underway. One day introductory oral history workshops are run each year which explain the stages involved in organizing an interviewing program, conducting interviews and developing documentation for the interviews such as labelling, summaries, conditions of use forms and transcripts.


Please contact the Archival Field Officer on (08) 8207 7250 or email us.

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