Skip to Main Content

Oral History + Podcasting

A collection of oral history and podcasting resources at Davidson.

Class Sessions and Support

For oral history help, contact: Jessica Cottle, JEC Project Archivist,

For podcasting help, contact: Thomas Epsenschied, Digital Media Specialist,


Do I need IRB approval?

NO. As of January 21, 2019:

“Exclusion of "scholarly and journalistic activities that focus on a specific individual" (e.g., oral histories) from HSIRB oversight.”

If you are unsure or your interviews will involve at-risk populations, consult the resources available through the Davidson College Human Subjects Office. It is always advisable to reach out to IRB with any questions.

Oral history vs. Podcast

What is oral history?

The Oral History Association (OHA) defines oral history as “a method of recording and preserving oral testimony and the product of that process. It begins with an audio or video recording of a first person account made by an interviewer with an interviewee (also referred to as narrator), both of whom have the conscious intention of creating a permanent record to contribute to an understanding of the past.”

The key difference between an oral history interview and an interview you would conduct as a journalist (or in other disciplines) is its focus on lengthy testimonies on past events rather than purely contemporary experiences, as well as the form's emphasis on the "narrator as expert."

In an oral history interview, you are asking questions to further the narrator's dialog and personal realizations rather than only accumulating information you deem relevant.

What is a podcast?

A podcasts is a digital audio file that is episodic in nature that can be downloaded or streamed on the internet. Podcast is a portmanteau of iPod and broadcast. Podcasts cover any topic and can range in length.


So what's the difference .... ?

Podcasts can contain oral history interviews but are not exclusively focused on historical events. The technology needed to produce and process a podcast or an oral history is similar.

Questions? Need help? Ask Us
Davidson College Library, Box 7200, 209 Ridge Rd., Davidson, NC 28035-7200
Creative Commons license logo for CC by-sa 4.0
This Davidson College Library Research Guides are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
All box-title icons from Entypo pictograms by Daniel Bruce —