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March 2016

Oral History: Collecting the Voices and Perspectives of History

The best history is complex, and told using many voices and many perspectives. Historians have a wide range of source types available to them which they can use in their research. Oral Histories are one type of source that a historian might consult as they seek to produce a rich and complex account of the past.

To learn more about what constitutes an oral history and the development of the field of oral history, check out the essay “What Is Oral History?” by Linda Shopes. The essay is part of a larger resource, “History Matters“, a collaboration between the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning of the City University of New York and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, “History Matters” is designed to be a resource for history teachers (at both the high school and college levels), as well as students enrolled in U.S. History survey courses.

Interested in learning more about the process of collecting oral history interviews? Check out the Oral History Associations page of Principles and Best Practices.

If you are interested in the applications of oral history projects outside of the traditional field of history check out Upending the Narrative of the Great Man of History by Eliza Griswold, published in Smithsonian Magazine in December 2013.

Looking to listen to oral histories? Check out this sampling of online oral history collections:


 A independently funded, 501(c)(3) organization which launched a large scale oral history collection and preservation project in 2003. Learn more about StoryCorps through their FAQ page, or listen to their online collection of oral histories.

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1940

This collection of over 2,900 documents, which includes oral histories and transcripts was made possible through the work carried out by the Federal Writers’ Project, part of the New Deal’s  Works Progress Administration / Work Projects Administration. Explore the collection online through the Library of Congress.

Oral Histories of the American South

A collection of 500 oral history interviews about the American South. The 500 interviews available online are part of a larger collection of 4,000 interviews housed at the Southern Historical Collection at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Oral History of the House

This collection focuses on the people, events, institutions, and objects of the ever-evolving House of Representatives of the United States. Learn about the collection and listen to the interviews here.

Oral History Center, Bancroft Library; University of California Berkeley

Want to learn more about the Oral History Center and its collections? Click here. Want to search their collection of oral histories? Check out their search tools (you can either search the collection through a keyword search or use their list of subject areas ).

Present at the Wheelock Student Research Conference!

Do you seek experiences that will give you an edge in your job or graduate school applications? Are you working on a research paper or project for a class or independent study? Would you like to be considered to win $100? If you answered yes to these questions, you should submit a proposal to participate in Wheelock’s second annual Student Research Conference, happening on Thursday, May 5, 2016.

You can find all the details about the conference on the Wheelock Student Research Conference website: If you’re wondering how to get started with your proposal or what even goes on at a conference, visit one of the library drop-in sessions for guidance and support. Drop-in sessions will be held Wednesday, March 23, 3 – 4 p.m. and Friday, March 25, 2 – 3 p.m. in Library 2M.

Conference proposals are due Friday, April 8. We look forward to seeing your proposal!

Snapshots from the 2015 Student Research Conference.

Snapshots from the 2015 Student Research Conference.

Social work students: Meet your new best friend!

Looking for trustworthy scholarly information in social work? Try the Encyclopedia of Social Work! Articles are written by experts and updated regularly, and they cover major areas of social work theory, research, policy, and practice. Here are just a few of the 400 articles you’ll find:

  • Alcohol and Drug Problems: Practice Interventions
  • Ecological Framework
  • Domestic Violence in the LGBT Community
  • Kinship Care
  • Intersectionality and Social Work
  • Welfare Rights

These articles would satisfy Goldilocks, if she were a social work student: they’re neither too deep nor too shallow, but just right.  Each provides a meaningful overview of a topic, and links to additional readings where you can learn more.

And best of all? The Encyclopedia of Social Work is free to you, courtesy of the Wheelock College Library.  This online resource is 100% available to all Wheelock College faculty, staff, and students:  no matter if you are in Boston or Worcester, in the BSW or MSW program, or are studying in a related field.

Check it out today!  You can access the Encyclopedia of Social Work here; from the Social Work research guide; or from the A to Z list of databases on the library website.

Image linked to the Encyclopedia of Social Work website.

Open eBooks: Books for Low-Income Children

On February 24th  2016 Open eBooks, an initiative to make thousands of books freely available to children in need, was launched nationwide.

Open eBooks is an app containing thousands of new and popular reading titles that can be accessed digitally by low-income children who may not have access to materials at home, in school, or in their communities. This app will empower children to expand their knowledge, improve their reading skills, and develop digital literacy.

open ebooks

Open eBooks in the App Store

President Obama first announced the Open eBook initiative in April of 2015. Since then, literary
organizations from around the country have worked tirelessly to make the project a reality. The app was developed and curated by the Digital Public Library of America, The New York Public Library, First Book, and digital book distributor Baker & Taylor. It received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, as well as contributions from many major publishers, including Bloomsbury, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, National Geographic, and Candlewick.

At the Wheelock College Library, we are excited about this new advancement in digital access to children’s books, not only because it goes a long way towards improving the lives of children and families, but because it supports one of the core values of all libraries. After all, aren’t libraries the original open eBooks? Providing public access to information is hugely important to our society, as is summed up by this quote from the America Library Associations’ website:  “Libraries help ensure that Americans can access the information they need – regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers”. Projects like Open eBooks create additional opportunities to reach communities that are geographically isolated from a public library system.

Are you involved with an organization that serves low-income children and are interested in getting access to the Open eBooks app? Learn more about eligibility requirements HERE.

Get research help over spring break!

Spring break is upon us!  Are you visiting a beautiful location? Are you working hard on a research paper?  Are you working hard on your research in a beautiful location?

In any case, the library has got you covered.  Librarians are standing by to help you to focus your topic, investigate excellent sources, and use citation styles like APA, MLA, and Chicago.  Get research help in person or remotely over spring break!  Check out our spring break hours here.