Some background:

I have worked with a number of clients on oral history projects that required some type of work in order to reach their final published state. Sometimes this involved overseeing the project's management and/or publication.So, my experience with oral histories ranges from basic transcription, to media conversion, citation management, and up to online publication.The following is an example of one of these projects-


  • Washington State University Special Collections
  • Whitman County Historical Society

What the client needed:

In October 1978, Margot Knight and Kay Kenedy Turner completed the Whitman County Historical Society (WCHS) Oral History Project. This project captured the experiences of second generation pioneer families in Whitman County, Washington. These firsthand sources provide researchers a wealth of information on late nineteenth and early twentieth century life in this rural area.

Unfortunately, the public could only access these oral histories by going into the Washington State University (WSU) Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC). Though this solution worked for most researchers, opening up the collection to provide more access to the public was the end goal of both WCHS and WSU.

In the fall of 2014, Professor Emeritus Edwin P. Garretson and I sought out and received support for hosting this oral history collection on Washington State University Libraries Digital Collections. This web hosting provided access to the public. Washington State University Archivist Mark O’ English oversaw the student workers who provided the work force to complete the conversion of the .wav to .mp3 audio files.

My role:

Initially, my role was to de-conflict two dissimilar collections. Both Washington State University and Whitman County Historical Society had intake documents, transcripts, and audio files. However, the collections were not the same and it was my job to figure out where these discrepancies existed and iron them out.

​In addition, along with Mark, I made a number of corrections to the bibliographical citations that for whatever reason required cleanup. My primary responsibility was to make sure the process kept going over the months and years and to ensure we (WCHS and WSU) were still making forward progress on this project comprised of both volunteers and paid students.

The customer's feedback:

A collection survey comparing and combining WCHS holdings and MASC holdings was conducted by Luke Sprague and allowed the creation of this digital collection.”

Mark O'English

Date completed:  December 5, 2015

  • If you need help with a project like this feel free to email me at

Related links:

The web portal to the Whitman County Oral History Collection at

The description of this collection at

The finding aid to the Whitman County Oral History Collection at

Sample:  Audio from Harry Nervig