[SIGCIS-Members] Discipline-Specific Debates in Oral History?

Al Kossow aek at bitsavers.org
Wed May 24 14:18:57 PDT 2017



On 5/24/17 1:41 PM, Laine Nooney wrote:

> For some reason, in the history of computing and games particularly, there can be a lingering attachment to interpreting
> oral history sources as unmediated vessels of their own experience, even though this has been roundly debunked by oral
> history scholarship going back to the mid-1970s.
What do you mean by "unmediated vessels of their own experience" ?

Did you mean "infallible records of their own experience" ?

Having been on the staff of CHM for over ten years now and having done my share of oral histories with people
whom I am very familiar with, remembrances are not exact, nor would anyone expect them to be, especially with
long temporal distances from the events being discussed. Any interview should be taken with a grain of salt and
compared to historical documents and contemporary and historical interviews of others.

Oral histories can also be biased by the research interests and knowledge of the interviewer through his line of
questioning.






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