Mary A. Larson is the Associate Dean for Special Collections and the Puterbaugh Professor of Library Service at the Edmon Low Library, Oklahoma State University. Her research interests include the impact of technology on oral history, the intersections of digital humanities and oral history, and the representation of rural women in the historical record. E-mail: email@example.com .
Theories concerning the nature of oral history have changed over the years, and scholars’ understandings of the methodology have been heavily influenced by the media used to record, archive, and present interviews. As practitioners have moved, in turn, from privileging typewritten transcripts to emphasizing the importance of the original tape recordings and exploring such new media as video, digital formats, and highly produced multimedia outputs, our perspective on what an oral history is has deepened. This essay reviews a series of articles from the 1950s through the present day and traces the evolution of oral history media and our increasing appreciation of oral history’s intricacies.