The Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) administers the active oral history projects of the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR). The Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) program is co-run by INCITE and CCOHR. The Columbia Center for Oral History Archives (CCOHA), a collection maintained by the Columbia Libraries, is where the oral history archival collections are located.

Can I hire CCOHR to conduct an oral history project?

From time to time CCOHR works with grant-funded projects with community and institutional partners. However, our primary mission is to undertake our own research projects and we are not available to be hired for private contract work, in keeping with university rules.

I need someone with professional experience with oral history training, interviewing, project management, transcription, or audio/video editing––can you point me in the right direction?

Yes. The alumni of our Oral History Master of Arts program are trained in those skills and are available for hire. Please contact us with a job description and we will connect you to the experienced freelancers in our alumni community.

Do you offer classes in oral history for the general public or for Columbia affiliates?

We offer a one-year Oral History Masters of Arts degree in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and host an annual two-week Summer Institute. We run a bi-weekly workshop series that is open to the public. You can subscribe to the events listserv to receive information about the workshops and all INCITE programming.

I have an oral history project in mind and would like to chat with you about it—when are you available?

Currently, all program staff are dedicated to their project work and are not available for one-on-one consultations.  We have compiled a list of oral history resources, including practitioner guides, an oral history bibliography and a list of oral history organizations. If you have questions about future research collaborations and partnerships, please write the director of CCOHR, Mary Marshall Clark (ccohr@columbia.edu).

I just heard about your Summer Institute – how can I apply?

All the relevant information on the theme, instructors, cost, application and deadlines is outlined on the Summer Institute website, which is the fastest way to obtain information. Details about next year’s Summer Institute appears on the website as soon as it becomes available, usually near the beginning of each calendar year. Application is required, and the Summer Institute is very popular, so please be aware of each year’s deadline to apply.

Where is your office and can I stop by and view your collection?

The CCOHR staff is based at 3078 Broadway in the ground floor office––however, we are often out in the field researching or conducting interviews, so an appointment is necessary if you need to meet with one of us. Also, the Columbia Center for Oral History Archives is not on site; it is, as always, located within the Rare Book and Manuscript Library collection in Butler Library on Columbia’s campus. Please follow their policies and consult with their staff to request any oral history archival materials.

Didn’t your office used to be in Butler Library?

Yes. But as of the 2013/2014 academic year, all active oral history research projects are based out of our new location in INCITE with offices at 3078 Broadway. There is no longer a physical oral history office in Butler Library, though the archive remains accessible, as always, through the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Can I get recording equipment on loan?

No. We do not provide equipment rental.

Can you recommend recording equipment that’s suited to my purpose and means?

Yes. We rely on the “Ask Doug” feature of the Oral History in the Digital Age website and recommend everyone consult this service directly when deciding on equipment.

What recording equipment do you use?

For CCOHR projects, we use Sound Devices 722 audio recorders with Sony ECM-44B lavalier mics. For students, we currently recommend Tascam DR-100 MKii with Audio Technica pro-70s mics.

Are there transcription software programs that you recommend?

No. In our experience, we have not encountered any satisfactory transcription software. We rely on professional transcription companies and individuals to transcribe our interviews, followed by an in-house audit-edit of transcripts by CCOHR staff.

I am a narrator in one of CCOHR’s active projects and have questions about my interview, transcript or legal release—who do I contact?

Please contact the CCOHR staff affiliated with your project with any questions about your interview, transcript or legal release.

What is your general contact info?

Columbia Center for Oral History Research
Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE)
606 W. 122nd Street
Suite 512 & 514
Knox Hall, MC 9649
New York, NY 10027

p: 212-854-5781
f: 646-786-3904