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
Accessioning involves keeping track of collected materials by creating a master index. This can quickly become overwhelming if not systematically planned, and kept up to date.

We label tapes in the field as recorded: name of interviewee, date of interview, and number of cassette.

When tapes and data sheets are turned in , we assign an accession number: sequential, or coded according to date, topic, informant and number of tapes in session (e.g. 4/07-23--02)

We record the accession number on the tape cassette, on data sheets, release forms, and in master index.

Efficient accessioning facilitates organization, quick access, and retrieval. Otherwise, all you have is a useless mess.

Transcription: Transcription is the process of taking the spoken word and putting it into written form. Oral History information is useful only if accessible. Access to information musch easier in printed form than on cassette, though tapes remain primary documents and valuable historical objects in themselves.

But tanscription is also the most difficult, dreaded and least enjoyed aspect of fieldwork. It is slow, painstaking work, requiring 4-10 hours for each hour of tape., which may amount to as much as 40-50 pages.

If the tanscriber is not the interviewer, then the interviewer should at least review tape and provide an outline of topics. If the entire tape is not being transcribed, the interviewer should specify which parts to transcribe verbatim, which to summarize, and which to merely index.

Oral histories add value and interest to conventional historical research by putting flesh on the bones of fact. If done properly, oral histories provide future generations of students and researchers with invaluable primary resources of information that would have otherwise have been lost.

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