Personal Histories: Audio
A personal history in audio memoir format consists of the stories of one person or a group of people, carefully preserved on the highest quality audio equipment, and engineered to last for generations. Products can range from a simple, unedited oral history interview to a well-edited story with a strong narrative that retains the unique voice, laughter and verbal mannerisms of the narrator.
Why choose audio?
Audio has the benefit of preserving the voice patterns of those being interviewed, as well as their unique ways of describing their lives. If you like to listen to books on tape or Audible, value and enjoy podcasts and the spoken word, this may be the medium for you. Once the recorder is turned on, you or a person you have chosen to be interviewed will relax and feel as if you are having a conversation with a friend.
Audio histories are usually delivered in three ways: An online download mp3, much like a download of a favorite song or lecture on iTunes; a flash drive; or some type of elegant case with an archival CD or USB. Audio histories, like video personal histories, can also be uploaded to family history or genealogy sites.
The cost of an audio project is mostly dependent on length of interview, number of subjects involved, and amount of editing required. The personal historian will create a contract specifying the agreed-upon scope of the project and indicating your cost.
PHNN does not suggest or provide pricing information, leaving this to each individual personal historian.
What to look/listen for in an audio historian:
Interviewing skills: Proven interviewing skills and some training in oral history techniques. Listen to some recordings your prospective PH has made.
Professional equipment. Unless you are doing this impromptu and have to record on a phone, make sure your audio historian has a high-quality tape recorder AND a backup recorder in case the first line fails (it happens), plus an excellent microphone.
References. Ask for references and look for testimonials on the PH’s website.
Comfort is key. Do you feel at ease telling the PH about your life and your family stories?