Preface and Acknowledgments

This publication is based on my experience of setting up and developing the oral history programme at the Imperial War Museum. Like some similar works it reflects the specialised interests and particular purposes of one institution. These cannot be directly relevant or applicable in all respects to the great variety of organisations and individuals in the field, many of whose interests and emphases are differently placed. It does, however, cover much ground and many problems which are common to all oral historians and provides a focus which is in some respects distinct from earlier comparable works.

I was initially motivated by Dr Rolf Schuursma - Editor of the Phonographic Bulletin (Journal of the International Association of Sound Archives) - to write An Archive Approach to Oral History. The interest of lASA in this field of activity exists for two reasons. First, because a growing number of the Association's member archives are creating and acquiring oral history recordings. Secondly, because IASA - as an association of professional sound archivists - is concerned that the substantial growth of interest in oral history should be accompanied by a corresponding degree of understanding about the importance and qualities of the resultant sound documents. This concern accounts for the space and emphasis given to technical matters in this publication.

The fact that this work appears as a publication sponsored jointly by IASA and the Imperial War Museum, is due to the interest and encouragement of Dr Christopher Roads (Deputy Director of the Museum) who was primarily responsible for the initiative which led to the estab1ishment of the recording programme on which An Archive Approach to Oral History is based. It complements other publications which have come from the Museum and reflects the institution's longstanding efforts to encourage a multi-media approach to historical research.

While accepting full responsibility for the content of this publication, I should like to thank Roger Smither who, with Laura Kamel, wrote Chapter 7 on cataloguing and indexing. The technical sections could not have been compiled in their present form without the expert knowledge and contribution of Lloyd Stickells. Directly or indirectly, the influence of these and other Museum colleagues has also contributed to many of the practices described in the text. Margaret Brooks has played an important part in the development of our methods and Fiona Campbell helped to compile the bibliography.

David Lance
Keeper of the Department of Sound Records
Imperial War Museum
November 1977