Ohio University Press, 2009

(with Donna DeBlasio, Charles Ganzert, Stephen Paschen and Howard Sacks)

Catching Stories:

A Practical Guide to Oral History

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.


Read Chapter 1, "Why Do Oral History?"

For reviews and downloadable oral history forms, see 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

“(A)n outstanding new edition for novice oral historians looking to conduct oral-history projects.” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“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.” International Oral History Association Newsletter

"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