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Oral History Volunteer Opportunities

photo of oral history editor Everett Yeh and committee chair Susan Schofield

Oral history editor Everett Yeh and committee chair Susan Schofield

The success of the Oral History Program depends upon the time and passion contributed by dozens of volunteer interviewers, editors, indexers, and curators.  Oral history volunteers enjoy intellectual engagement, camaraderie, and the chance to make a lasting contribution to the historical record.  Required training is provided free of charge.  If you have an interest in understanding and preserving the history of Stanford, consider joining our dedicated team.

We are currently recruiting for the following volunteer roles:

  • Interviewer.  Prepare for and conduct recorded oral history interview sessions.  Preparation work includes establishing a rapport with the interviewee, ensuring informed consent, conducting background research, developing a topic outline, and designing interview questions and flow.  Interviewers assist with post-interview processing by reviewing the initial transcript once it is returned from the transcription vendor.
  • Editor.  Help to move oral history projects to completion by assiting with transcript proofreading and editing. 
  • Writer.  Draft interviewee biographies or interview abstracts.
  • Indexer.  Create a list of the major subjects and names mentioned in each interview so researchers can find it.
  • Collection Curator.  Identify highlights and key passages from oral history interviews to increase collection use and accessibility.
  • Videographer.  Work with interviewers to record selected interview sessions.
  • Audio and Video Editor.  Use video and sound editing software to select excerpts from oral history interviews for use in exhibits and program outreach.

Oral History Interviewers

 The society is seeking volunteer interviewers to assist with various oral history interview projects.  Volunteers must complete a required training program.

Responsibilities:

Primary tasks include substantial advance preparation work, conducting the recorded interview sessions, and assisting with interview post-processing. Preparation work involves establishing a rapport with the interviewee, ensuring informed consent, conducting background research, developing a topic outline in conjunction with interviewee, and designing interview questions and flow.  Post-processing work involves completing a post-interview report, drafting an abstract of the interview, and conducting a light edit on the initial transcript once it is returned from the transcription vendor. Total time spent on an oral history interview varies, but generally interviewers spend 5-8 hours on research, 2-4 hours on interviewing, and 8-10 hours on editing transcripts.

Required Skills/Experience:

  • Excellent listening, communication, and interpersonal skills.
  • A passion for history, especially Stanford history or the history of a specific academic discipline.
  • Proximity to Stanford and some weekday and daytime availability are required.
  • Previous historical research or interviewing experience is preferred.
  • Interviewers with a Stanford affiliation are preferred.
  • Interviewers who feel comfortable discussing science and engineering are especially needed.

Support: 

SHS staff provide required training on all aspects of conducting oral histories.  Staff work closely with interviewers to provide individualized support and guidance on each interview project.  

Contact:

If you are interested, please send an email with your resume or a short bio to  historicalsociety@stanford.edu or contact us with questions at (650) 725-3332.


Oral History Editors and Writers

The society is seeking skilled writers and editors to assist with the post-interview production process for various oral history projects.

Responsibilities: 

Tasks include reviewing and editing interview transcripts for readability, drafting biographies and interview abstracts, proofreading, indexing, and compiling processed transcripts with companion pieces for publishing. Total time spent on each project varies, but it generally ranges from 2 to 10 hours. A volunteer may choose to help with a specific post-production task or undertake all of the post-production work for a specific oral history.

Required Skills/Experience:

  • Interest in Stanford history, storytelling, and narrative.
  • Excellent proofreading, writing, and editing skills.
  • Careful attention to detail and the willingness to work with a style guide.
  • Familiarity with and access to Microsoft Word.
  • Ability to receive and send transcript files via email and to listen to audio mp3 files via iTunes or other software.
  • Proximity to Stanford is not necessary although we very much like to meet our volunteers.

Support:

Program staff will provide required training to familiarize volunteers with oral history editing and style conventions and offer ongoing support.

Contact:

If you are interested, please send an email with your resume or a short bio to  historicalsociety@stanford.edu or contact us with questions at (650) 725-3332.


Oral History Audio and Video Editors

In order to further promote the use and dissemination of Stanford oral histories, we are seeking audio and video editors to produce audio/video highlight clips and audio/photo montage slide shows from our oral history interview recordings. These highlight clips will be posted on the Historical Society website and social media pages and used in historical exhibits.

Responsibilities:

Tasks include reviewing transcripts and raw recordings for selections, editing the raw recordings, and formatting the selections for online posting. Total time spent on a project varies but in general ranges from 2 to 8 hours.

Required Skills/Experience:

  • Experience in manipulating and editing popular audio and video file formats such as mp3, wav, aiff, mp4, mov, and m4v and working with a video editing software such as iMovie.
  • Familiarity with photo editing for the web.
  • Access to audio and video editing software and the ability to download and upload files electronically.
  • Proximity to Stanford is not necessary although we very much like to meet our volunteers.

Support:

Society staff will provide training and direction in identifying highlights and ongoing support.

Contact:

If you are interested, please send an email with your resume or a short bio and a link to audio/video content you have produced to historicalsociety@stanford.edu or call us with any questions at 650-725-3332.