What is Oral History?
Interviewing participants or experts in a particular subject or issue and preserving their judgments and recollections. Oral history materials sound and video recordings, transcribed interviews, interview notes and memoranda supplement, but do not replace, official written records. Oral history materials contain information not normally preserved in official documents." Oral history preserves through interviews an individual's interpretation or recollection of events. The final product, whether it is an interview tape or transcript, reflects the combined effort of the interviewer and interviewee in the creation of a unique historical account.
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Preserving History

For most historians, the interview becomes the "moment of truth." Oral History, unlike documentary research, brings the researcher into contact with living, breathing human beings. Their knowledge is the object of value.

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Oral histories can provide a wealth of information to researchers, but most interviews for one reason or another receive limited circulation. All revised and edited transcripts should be bound in some fashion and placed in the appropriate archives.

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Interview participants are encouraged to make their oral histories (tapes or transcripts) as accessible as possible, but some persons may prefer to restrict access to their interviews. Interviewees should indicate any restrictions they wish to place on their interviews by indicating it on the release form.     

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Oral History Project supported jointly by a Grant from PHMC and the Pennsylvania State Police Centennial Committee
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