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In many ways, the real work of an oral history begins once the interview is complete. The sections below guide you through the post-interview process and considerations.
Wrapping Up the Interview
Thank your interviewee. You should spend time at the end of the interview, once the recorder is off, to decompress a bit with your narrator and thank them for the opportunity to share their story. Additionally, it is a good idea to send a Thank You card to your narrator, so make sure you have a mailing address.
Document the Process
Document the process, including the preparation and methods used for archival purposes and project development.
At this point, you may have compiled several forms to help you with this process. The links below may not all be applicable to your project.
Narrator/Interviewer Fact Sheet (and/or the more detailed Interviewee Life History Form)
IRB Form or Exemption letter (only if your department requires it)
Permission to Add Form
Proper Words Form
Deed of Gift Form
Field Notes and Recording Logs
Transcribing the Interview
The level of detail required in your transcription will depend upon your goals and purposes for your oral history project. For example, you will need to decide which disfluencies (any breaks or irregularities such as "uhm," "hmmm..." and so forth) to include in your transcription.
The transcription process takes a lot of time, particularly if you have never done transcription before. There is no hard and fast rule, but by some estimates, one hour of audio or video can take 4-9 hours to transcribe, depending on the subject, number of speakers, and audio quality.
There are a number of free transcription resources available.