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Oral History Bringing the past to life

Oral history
Basement recording at the Kildare Street Club


Producing an Oral History project with us 

We wish to ensure this important work is regarded as a labour of love, rather than a chore. To that effect, the following aspects shall be in place from Day One:

  1. Courtesy and respect to all participants
  2. Discretion and sensitivity on all subjects covered
  3. Transparency and candour in dealing with our lead/s
  4. Commitment and diligence in completing the task
  5. Patience and good humour at any setbacks
  6. Enjoyment and enthusiasm in everyday dealings

The groundwork

Areas to consider in advance


Researching – what aspects should be covered?

Recording – who needs to be recorded?

Editing – devising a system on what to leave out

Archiving – transcribing and meta-tagging

Disseminating – will the data be public or private?

Ethical – what factors need to be considered here?

Legal – consent and compliance requirements 


Ensuring clarity from the off

Once we have talked the bullet-pointed Areas in Advance details over with you, we will prepare a summary for your review. Once agreed, we will provide you with a Quotation and our Terms and Conditions. If satisfied with the figures, a deposit will need to be paid before proceeding further.

You’ll need to see the documents each participant must sign as a matter of good housekeeping and compliance. Logistics will of course be key – who and when to record them and what sort of time frame you have on completing the project. Factor in curveballs and possible delays – let’s have a Plan B if someone cancels at the last minute. 

As regards the interviews, pointers will be given in advance to ensure a peaceful and successful recording session. Most importantly, we can assure a pleasant and encouraging ‘bedside manner’ to get the most out of the interviewees.

Case Study

Image 13 10 2021 at 16.21


“John Ward t/a Racontour Productions was employed by the club in the summer of 2019 to conduct an oral history project on aspects of the club’s history with the retirement of certain key staff members. John proved himself to be adaptable, tenacious and innovative in his execution of this project. We were very pleased with the outcome and appreciated his dedication and creativity in bringing the project to a successful conclusion”. 

Catherine Murphy

Club Secretary

Kildare Street and University Club

August 2020

What exactly is Oral History?

In his book, Doing Oral History, Donald Ritchie helpfully explains,

Oral History collects memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews.  An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer questioning an interviewee and recording their exchange in audio or video format.  Recordings of the interview are transcribed, summarized, or indexed and then placed in a library or archives. These interviews may be used for research or excerpted in a publication, radio or video documentary, museum exhibition, dramatization or other form of public presentation. Recordings, transcripts, catalogs, photographs and related documentary materials can also be posted on the Internet. 

Oral history does not include random taping, such as President Richard Nixon’s surreptitious recording of his White House conversations, nor does it refer to recorded speeches, wiretapping, personal diaries on tape, or other sound recordings that lack the dialogue between interviewer and interviewee.