Baylor Oral History Institute Releases New Book, Schedules Workshop to Highlight “Oral History at a Distance”

June 21, 2024
Oral History at a Distance book cover art 2024-06-13

WACO, Texas – When COVID-19 changed nearly everything about daily life in the United States in 2020, the Baylor University Institute for Oral History (BUIOH) quickly found that in-person interviews took on a new level of challenge beyond simply choosing a time and place to sit down with an interview subject. Now, the concern for personal health was at the forefront of planning considerations, and they saw a new opportunity to rethink how these important conversations could take place remotely.

The experience that Stephen Sloan, Steven Sielaff, Adrienne Cain Darough and Michelle Holland gained during the first years of the pandemic is now available in a new publication from Routledge, a UK-based publisher. “Oral History at a Distance” presents chapters on “the range of oral history practice—project design, ethical considerations, project management, interviewing, technology, and preservation,” according to the book’s page on the Routledge website. 

Importantly, the title is also made available as an Open Access publication, allowing free access for users affiliated with the Baylor University Libraries and other OA partner institutions. 

“The decision to make this work available as an open access resource reflects the Baylor Libraries' commitment to expanding access to important resources,” said Jeffry Archer, Dean of University Libraries, Museums and the Press at Baylor. "Open access ensures the impact of this exciting new book will be felt beyond the reach of traditional publishing approaches."

While the focus of the book is on managing and executing distance-based interviews, it also provides a thorough examination of how the field of oral history has evolved in recent years, with case studies and practical tips that will shape how practitioners carry out both distance and in-person interviews.

“Oral History at a Distance” also features a companion website that contains PDF versions of forms and supplemental materials found in the appendix, as well as a comprehensive list of links and examples of technology mentioned in its chapters. “With this website I hope to provide biannual updates to keep pace with the changes in trends and technology, allowing this publication to remain relevant for years to come,” said Steven Sielaff, co-author and Senior Editor and Collections Manager at the BUIOH.

The Institute also plans to replace their typical “Getting Started with Oral History” online workshop in August with a special instructional section based on the content of “Oral History at a Distance.” While BUIOH workshops are always concerned with how to do oral history well, this offering will also examine the changed dynamics and new considerations of moving from face-to-face projects to distance work. Registration is only $50 and closes on July 31.

Hardcover, paperback and digital download copies of “Oral History at a Distance” are available from the Routledge website at

About the Baylor University Institute for Oral History

Through dynamic, recorded interviews, oral history preserves the stories of individuals who helped create the fabric of history and whose lives, in turn, were shaped by the people, places, events, and ideas of their day. The Institute for Oral History has recorded and preserved oral histories since 1970, earning along the way a strong reputation for multidisciplinary outreach to both academic scholars and community historians by providing professional leadership, educational tools, and research opportunities. Learn more at