Focusing on the methods of collecting oral history and its importance for completing the nation's memory

Focusing on the methods of collecting oral history and its importance for completing the nation

Today the National Archives of the United Arab Emirates organized a scientific workshop on oral history in the Creativity Corner at Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2014, in which it explained the importance of oral history in completing the documentation of the nation''s memory.

The workshop reflected the National Archives’ attentiveness to the oral history as it considers it an important project that will add many historical aspects to the nation''s memory in the archives and will provide researchers with a true and realistic picture about life in the UAE before the establishment of the Union. In fact, this is what the National Archives seeks when investigating the conversations of the elderly narrators wherever they are. 

The scientific workshop showed that the National Archives deems the oral history a national project; thus works on collecting and documenting it through optimal scientific ways set according to the exchange of experiences with international bodies that have dealt with such issues and gained experience in this field. Participants in the workshop were asked to provide the National Archives with the addresses of elderly people who had important experience in various aspects of life in the period prior to the establishment of the Union. 

The workshop addressed the practical aspect of oral history interviews. Therefore, special attention is given to the importance of tools and equipment used during interviews together with the need for capturing all details, whether by taking photos or video footages. Attention is also paid to recording all points covered by speakers in addition to their facial expressions and body languagehugvc during their speech. Nevertheless, maintaining the confidentiality of the interviews and all the information is guaranteed. 

The workshop explained the importance of keeping the materials of the interviews and pointed out that the National Archives strives to save a large number of interviews that it conducted in ideal ways and as per the latest techniques followed in this field. The National Archives is keen to publish accurate information after verifying each piece of information interviewees present, either by comparing it to documents, referring to the accounts of other narrators, or by referring to the books that have monitored aspects of the same event which the narrator is addressing. 

It is noteworthy that this workshop has used some examples of written, audio and audiovisual interviews for the presentation of ideas. A large number of exhibition visitors showed great interest and scrutinized the topic discussed in the workshop.