Give an account of oral sources of History.

Oral histories are the collections of accounts, and interpretations of the past in their own words. They are a record of an individual’s direct feelings and opinions about the events in which he or she was involved. The oral histories provide information about significant events that may otherwise lack documentation in written or archival records. Oral histories are obtained through interviews and are preserved on audio and video recordings, in films, and in written transcripts. Study oral histories as primary sources and recognize the advantages they have as source materials. Many times, oral histories record the experiences of individuals who were not able, or who lacked the time, to leave written accounts. The interviewer’s questions often create spontaneity and candor that might not be present in a personally written account. Moreover, in a recorded interview, the informant’s voice may reveal unique speech characteristics and tone that could not be captured in other sources. Oral history presents challenges in its analysis. Memory is fallible. The reliability of the informant’s information may be in question. The informants may be reluctant to discuss certain topics, resulting in an inaccurate or an incomplete record. As with all sources, oral histories must be evaluated along with other documentation to determine whether they present information that is exceptional or conforms to previously established.

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