This glossary is a working list that is ever-changing and continually updated to meet our needs. This glossary is written deliberately in reference to the materials provided in this workbook.
Comments or additional notes that are added to the transcript or recording of an interview to provide context, clarification, or interpretation. These annotations can be used to enhance the understanding of the interview and provide additional insights into the interviewee’s experiences and perspectives.
A person or organization that takes care of and is in charge of archives.
The weaving of myth, history, and biography into narrative. Defined by Audre Lorde in her writing Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.
The shared, often legal, ownership of an oral history record between the interviewer and narrator. Co-creation also establishes that both participants played a role to create the finished record.
The memory of a group of people sometimes passed from one generation to the next.
A document with signed and agreed on information. A consent form explains the interview process and the rights of the narrator who is participating. This document establishes ownership over the record and how the record will be made available to others.
The combining of historical and archival research with critical theory and fictional narrative to fill in the blanks left in the historical record. Defined in Saidiya Hartman’s Venus in Two Acts as storytelling and speculative narration to redress history’s omissions, particularly stories in the lives of enslaved people.
Something that is known, considered, or agreed upon to have happened or to exist.
A piece of information presented as having objective reality.
A fiction is any creative work, chiefly any narrative work, portraying individuals, events, or places that are imaginary, or in ways that are imaginary.
The discussion of social topics. A story or a statement in circulation often known to arise in the context of ambiguity when the meaning of a situation is not readily apparent or determined to be “true.”
To question someone to discover their opinions or experience.
A spoken or written account of connected events; a story.
A person being interviewed during an oral history recording.
An oral historian is someone who collects stories that address the past, present or future, as recounted by a narrator. People in various fields use oral history techniques, including those in public health, law, history, documentary film, radio, education, social advocacy, development, visual art, writing, sociology, and more.
An interview practice with an emphasis on co-creation, history, and transformation.
An unscripted conversation between people using a particular collaborative approach to listening and speaking, resulting in an audio or video record. This method is open-ended and sometimes occurs in multiple sessions. This is a highly collaborative interview process resulting in a narrative.
The activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics or embellishment. Oral history and storytelling have various aims stemming from entertainment, education, preservation, to instilling values.
A method of asking open-ended questions and allowing the narrator to lead the conversation. An oral history usually contains a life interview component, even if it’s a focused interview. Silence is part of the conversation. Oral history interviews are unscripted and the oral historian does not bring prepared questions to the interview. An oral history is more interested in meaning. Why do you think that happened? Oral History asks narrators to interpret what they experienced. Lore, exaggeration, and myths are all relevant. Oral history is interested in sharing cognitive dissonances.
Outlines are drafted prior to the interview. Unlike a script, interviews do not follow an outline precisely but it can be used as preliminary research or as a guide.
Art in which a fiction is presented as fact. Parafictions can serve as thought experiments that challenge the often opaque and internal processes in which we conceive our beliefs.
An implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits, for example by sacrificing individual freedom for state protection. Theories of a social contract became popular in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries among theorists such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as a means of explaining the origin of government and its subjects.
A real or imagined account of people, experiences, and events. A report in a newspaper, magazine, or broadcast.
A solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official. This is often firsthand authentication of a fact as evidence.
Aligns the transcription to the oral history recording by inserting time intervals. This helps listeners quickly locate a topic in the interview while keeping them connected to the aural material. Typical format is [ HH:MM:SS ]
The process of converting spoken or recorded speech into written or typed text. This can be done manually, by listening to the audio and transcribing it word for word, or it can be done using automated speech recognition software. This is a useful tool for making spoken information available to a wider audience.
Provides guidelines and formatting conventions for the transcription. It helps to create consistency and clarity across multiple interviews.
The process of converting written or spoken language from one language to another. This involves interpreting the meaning of the source language text or speech and conveying it to the desired language.