Oral History FAQ

Who can participate in this project?

Any individual who was alive during 2008 may submit a story. Whether you volunteered on the Obama campaign or observed from afar, whether you voted for the first time, or the fifth, our goal is to capture what it felt like to live through this historic election.

Can I submit a video of myself or does it have to be an interview?

You can submit a single person audio or video narrative or a multi-person interview. This is a great chance to ask a neighbor, grandparent, friend what it felt like to live through this time. Find someone you know with a story and ask them to share it.

If you don’t want to make a recording, we will accept written narratives.

How do I record an oral history?

For instructions on how to record your oral history and what questions to ask, visit www.obama.org/history/instructions.

Can I use a smartphone to record?

Yes. We will accept files from any recorder so long as it meets our specifications. Be sure to test the audio to ensure both participants are coming in clear before you start recording.

Is the interview a video or audio recording?

Both are acceptable. We will accept audio files with no video, but with the exception of ASL interviews, we will not accept video files without an audio track.

Will the Foundation send me a copy of the recording?

No. You should save a copy of your recording for yourself prior to submitting to the Foundation.

Can I mail in a copy of the recording?

While we would prefer to receive submissions digitally, if you are interested in mailing in a physical copy of your recording, please contact us at [email protected]. Be sure to keep a copy of your recording for your own records.

How will this be used?

We are building an archive that preserves the memories of those that lived through the 2008 election. As stated in the Foundation submission terms, the materials may be used by Foundation staff for Museum exhibits, digital content, or made available to researchers. Your recording will be considered for inclusion in our oral history archive.

Must the interview be conducted in English?

No. We will accept interviews in all languages.

Will I hear back from the Foundation about my submission(s)?

If we choose to use your material on our social media channels or on our website in the coming months, we will reach out to you via email as a courtesy to let you know. By uploading your file, you are granting us permission to use your material in accordance with our submission terms here.

If you have a question that isn’t listed above, please contact us at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch.