Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

A Swallow Press Book

Catching Stories
A Practical Guide to Oral History

By Donna M. DeBlasio, Charles F. Ganzert, David H. Mould, Stephen H. Paschen, and Howard L. Sacks

“The co-authors of Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral History have produced a first-rate primer that will meet the needs of individuals seeking a practical introduction to oral history.…The book is especially well tailored to individuals working in historical societies, archives, or community organizations seeking to organize an oral history project of almost any scope.…I suspect that Catching Stories will become a popular choice for historical societies and other community organizations interested in a solid, practical guide to oral history.”

The Public Historian

Catching Stories is an extremely valuable and accessible resource for anyone interested in pursuing oral history research. The authors cite oral historian Paul Thompson on the purpose and value of oral history research in the opening pages of this work: ‘it can give back to the people who made and experienced history, through their own words, a central place,’ and this guide will assist immensely all those interested in achieving this goal (empowering through an approach which combines rigor and empathy.”

The Oral History Review

“(A)n outstanding new edition for novice oral historians looking to conduct oral-history projects.”

Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Catching Stories is the perfect guide for creating a successful oral history project.”

Big Muddy

In neighborhoods, schools, community centers, and workplaces, people are using oral history to capture and collect the kinds of stories that the history books and the media tend to overlook: stories of personal struggle and hope, of war and peace, of family and friends, of beliefs, traditions, and values—the stories of our lives.

Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral History is a clear and comprehensive introduction for those with little or no experience in planning or undertaking oral history projects. Opening with the key question, “Why do oral history?” the guide outlines the stages of a project from idea to final product—planning and research, the interviewing process, basic technical principles, and audio and video recording techniques. The guide covers interview transcribing, ethical and legal issues, archiving, funding sources, and sharing oral history with audiences.

Intended for teachers, students, librarians, local historians, and volunteers as well as individuals, Catching Stories is the place to start for anyone who wants to document the memories and collect the stories of community or family.

Donna M. DeBlasio is an associate professor of history and director of the Center for Applied History at Youngstown State University.   More info →

Charles F. Ganzert was a professor in the Communication and Performance Studies Department at Northern Michigan University.   More info →

David H. Mould, professor emeritus of media arts and studies at Ohio University, has traveled widely in Asia and southern Africa as a trainer, consultant, and researcher. He has written articles and essays for many print and online publications. Born in the United Kingdom, he worked as a newspaper and TV journalist before moving to the United States in 1978.   More info →

Stephen H. Paschen is the university archivist as well as assistant professor in libraries and media services at Kent State University.   More info →

Howard L. Sacks is a professor of sociology and director of the Rural Life Center at Kenyon College.   More info →


Chapter 1: “Why Do Oral History”


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Retail price: $18.95, S.
Release date: May 2009
27 illus. · 232 pages · 6.125 × 8½ in.
Rights:  World

Retail price: $34.95, S.
Release date: May 2009
27 illus. · 232 pages · 6.125 × 8½ in.
Rights:  World

Release date: May 2009
27 illus. · 232 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Catching Stories

“Budding oral historians will discover thoughtful discussion, examples, and basic guidelines for projects. The book is geared toward organizing and directing a project, and it is suitable for hands-on volunteer or student workshops.”

National Genealogical Society Quarterly

“This book will prove to be a valuable resource for community historians seeking an introduction to the field.”

Douglas A. Boyd, Director, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

“The conversational tone of the text will make it an ideal accompaniment for workshops geared towards local historical societies, libraries, and schools with high aspirations but limited resources.”

IOHA Newsletter

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