Problems of Archiving Oral History Interviews. The Example of the Archive "German Memory"


  • Almut Leh Fernuniversität Hagen



Oral History, archiving, right of use, anonymity, data bank, digital media of storage


The largest collection of oral history interviews in Germany at present is to be found in the archive of the "Institute for History and Biography". Under the name "German Memory" ("Deutsches Gedächtnis"), approximately 1,500 life history interviews with witnesses of time periods from East and West Germany are archived there in the form of audio or video tapes (just under one tenth of the interviews were filmed on video camera) and their transcripts (as electronic data text files and printouts). In addition, there are photos, personal documents, diaries, letters or other written sources from particular witnesses. With continual additions, there is a huge quantity of qualitative person specific data from different media sources that must be dealt with and archived. From the numerous problems which arise from specific archive materials, I would like to focus on the following three in this text: the anonymity and transfer of rights, the preparation for data use and the physical deterioration of audio and video tapes. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs000384


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Author Biography

Almut Leh, Fernuniversität Hagen

Born 1961, M.A., studies in history and philosophy, as scientific researcher at the "Institut für Geschichte und Biographie", editor of "BIOS—Zeitschrift für Biographieforschung und Oral History", council member for the International Oral History Association.



How to Cite

Leh, A. (2000). Problems of Archiving Oral History Interviews. The Example of the Archive "German Memory". Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1(3).



Progress of Preserving and Questions Regarding Data Protection