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Archiving oral history

The archival sector is increasingly aware that oral history belongs in the policies of archives. But what steps should you take, what about privacy and consent forms, and how do you get management and employees on board? These were some of the questions discussed at the expert meeting we organised with the archives sector in Utrecht on 2 March.


On this page you will find:

  1. The findings from the expert meeting, some conclusions and follow-up steps to be taken.
  2. A previously published article in the Archives Journal on this topic.
  3. A link to the Forum of ‘Speaking History’ where you can engage with other professionals and put topics on the agenda yourself.
  4. The essay “Don’t forget us. On diversity and inclusion at the Stadsarchief Amsterdam”.


Expert meeting – 2 March 2023 – Het Utrechts Archief

On 2 March 2023, some 20 professionals from the archival world came together to explore the main issues when it comes to archiving oral history material. They did so at the invitation of the Oral History ‘Speaking History’ Hub and staff of the Expertise Centre of the Netherlands Veterans Institute.


The questions faced by staff of the Expertise Centre of Netherlands Veterans Institute in wanting to sustainably store and make accessible their huge oral history collection.


The aim of the expert meeting is to take broader stock of the issues involved in archiving oral history material, what participants can learn from each other and what steps can be taken to work further on these issues in concrete terms. All this in preparation for a follow-up meeting to be organised by ‘Speaking History’ for a wider audience, in the autumn of 2023.


The expert meeting consisted of the following parts:


  • Introduction by Saskia Moerbeek, director of the BMP foundation and Initiator of the Oral History ‘Speaking History’ hub.
  • Introduction of the issues by Annabel Ruijter and Jeoffrey van Woensel of the Netherlands Veterans Institute (ICNV).
  • Verkenning duurzame verhalen. What is needed to make digital stories sustainably accessible and available? By Tamara van Zwol, Network coordinator “Sustainable” of the Digital Heritage Network.
  • Group session 1: On preserving and making interviews accessible
    Discussed topics: Own organisation policy, Collection management systems, Role of Archives (public function and neutrality), Handbook on archiving oral history material.


  • Group session 2: On privacy and AVG
    Discussed topics: Archives Act, AVG, General and special personal data, The right to be forgotten, Privacy after death, Consent and restricted interviews


  • Conclusions


View or download the comprehensive report here

Article “Archives and oral history” in the Archives Journal.

Source: Archives Journal 2022 issue 6, page 38 & 39



Earlier, the Archives Journal published the article ‘Archives and oral history’ where we talked to some archive institutions about their experiences and pressing issues regarding this topic.


The floor for: Jantje Steenhuis, director of Stadsarchief Rotterdam, Thijs de Leeuw and Mariët Bruggeman, researcher and head of the reading room at the BHIC, respectively, and Vincent Robijn, director of Collectie Overijssel.


Read the full article here.

Go to the Forum of ‘Sprekende geschiedenis’ and have a chat!

Talk along on the forum of ‘Speaking History’

Since recently, ‘Speaking History’ has a forum where our community asks questions and exchanges experiences on various topics related to oral history. A number of questions/discussions related to archiving and oral history can be found in the forum. Join the discussion, ask your question or engage with others.


Forum ‘Sprekende geschiedenis’


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