Oral History Initiatives

Oral Histories are a valuable and unique historical resource.  According to the Oral History Association, "Oral history refers both to a method of recording and preserving oral testimony and to the product of that process.” In the Eberly Family Special Collections Library we endeavor to support both the methods of oral history production and the preservation of oral history recordings in our collections

The content available in an oral history recording is likely to capture personal accounts and reflections that are not readily available in other primary sources. Special Collections participates in recording oral histories in order to capture, preserve, and provide access to first person accounts and content that fits the Libraries’ collection development mission. Our goal is to use oral histories to promote access to previously un-told historical accounts and to promote diversity and inclusion by recording voices that are traditionally underrepresented in our collections. 

Special Collections can support oral history production by offering guidance, form templates, equipment and technological support, as well as long term preservation when the content of oral histories aligns with our collecting goals.

Special Collections is currently undertaking two oral history projects to document student experience at Penn State:

  • Penn State Student Veterans oral history project:  In collaboration with Veterans Affairs, we have begun capturing oral histories of Penn State student veterans as part of the university’s outreach activities on Veteran’s Day.
  • Penn State International Students oral history project:  This project will explore the experiences and perspectives of international students at Penn State University.

Please send an email request to trb157@psu.edu for more information about capturing oral histories, or if you wish to participate in any of our ongoing projects.