Welcome to the [True] Stories Project!

The [True] Stories project aims to support classroom-centered, multidisciplinary, and collaborative oral history curricula for undergraduates at three Liberal Arts Colleges (Rollins College, Davidson College, and Southwestern University).  Check out our About page for more details on the project.  Follow our project blog below to see how oral history is playing a role in teaching and learning at all three campuses.

See our Events Calendar for upcoming True Stories webinars, speaker events, and grant documentation deadlines, as well as oral history training, conference, and publishing opportunities.

Are you a faculty or student blogger for True Stories?  See the Blog Guidelines for optional prompts and important login information to get started.

Jonathan Miller: [True] Stories – Instructor Feedback and Reflection

·         How did you approach your class in the context of the grant?

My 100 level RCC course included a community engagement element. Students worked with older adults who are residents of the Mayflower Retirement Community. To help them begin to develop relationships, I asked the students to conduct a focused oral history with their resident partner.

·         What things that went well and was the grant helpful to your class?

The whole experience was helpful. I would point tot he permission process in particular as an opportunity to get students thinking about the various aspects of rights and permissions in a digital context.

Rachel’s presentation to the students was excellent, the Story Corps app was easy to use (although not easy to share content from.)

·         Any “ah ha” moments for you or your class or yourself?

One section of the course concerns preservation and memory. Seeing the “melt” between actual interview, recording, upload to the StoryCorps app, and finally upload to the True Stories blog was an object lesson in the ephemeral nature of much digital content.

·         Any advice/recommendations for future participating instructors?

Work with Rachel Walton. She’s great!

The Southern Oral History Program: Rachel Seidman and Jaycie Vos

Rachel Seidman of the Southern Oral History Project
Rachel Seidman, Director, SOHP

The Southern Oral History Program (SOHP), founded in 1973, documents the stories of individuals across the American South with its extensive oral history collection. The histories are housed at the Southern History Collection at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as part of the Center for the Study of the American South. Today, the SOHP provides an amazing opportunity for collaboration between historians, archivists, and researchers. Not only do they continue to gather important stories of the South, the SOHP also hosts a well-known podcast. Press Record — “a podcast about the joys and challenges of learning history by talking to those who lived it” — is an amazing resource for those of us continuing to learn how to conduct oral histories. The Nuevas Raíces: Voces de Carolina del Norte project is also a product of an SOHP collaboration with the Latino Migration Project and the UNC University Libraries.

Jaycie Vos, Coordinator of Collections, SOHP
Jaycie Vos, Coordinator of Collections, SOHP

[True] Stories was lucky to help bring historian Rachel Seidman and archivist Jaycie Vos to Davidson College for a discussion with students of Professor Kelly and Professor Christian Lamb’s Oral History course. We hope you enjoy this recording of their wonderful talk about oral history methods, Nuevas Raíces, and their experiences working for the Southern Oral History Project!



Daniel Horowitz Garcia Talk

chatOn November 16, [True] Stories hosted a wonderful talk by Daniel Horowitz Garcia, the Southeast regional manager of StoryCorps. Horowitz Garcia, who is based in Atlanta, came to Rollins for this interactive talk during which participants learned about the motivation (and beauty) behind a media company facilitating oral histories interviews, as well as how to be better interviewers themselves. We live streamed this talk via the [True] Stories YouTube Channel, and you can watch it below. Enjoy!


He also recommended the following podcasts (as well as some resources you can check out in our Library):

The Other Side of the Mic — an oral history podcast by Kate Brenner

HowSound — “A bi-weekly podcast on radio storytelling produced by Rob Rosenthal for PRX and Transom.”

Press Record — the Southern Oral History Program’s podcast “about the joys and challenges of learning history by talking to those who lived it.”

Using HistoryPin to Enhance Oral History Collections

mappinHistoryPin is a unique non-profit website designed to allow people to connect and share pieces of history by virtually pinning them to the HistoryPin map. For example, below is an 1890 photograph of Rollins College that was pinned to Winter Park, Florida by the Winter Park Public Library.

Rollins College, from the Winter Park Public Library via HistoryPin

Photographs, video, audio content can all be pinned to the map. Together, these can form incredible collections that tell the story of a place, pulling a single point out from a map and showing its passage through time.

Anyone can create an account with HistoryPin and start building their own collection. This is especially useful for those who are working on oral history projects that are tied to a specific location–for example, our students who are exploring topics related to their particular campuses.

To upload audio or video content, follow these steps (adapted from the HistoryPin FAQs

  1.  Upload your audio or video clip to YouTube
  2. Make sure your video is listed as public
  3. Click the “share” button under the video on YouTube. Check the “long link” box and copy the link.
  4. Log in or create a HistoryPin account
  5. Click ‘Pin’ and select ‘Video’ or ‘Audio’ and drop in the link
  6. Add a title, date, and location (the date and location can be approximate)
  7. Don’t forget to save!

Once material has been pinned to the map, descriptive content (what you may have heard us refer to as “metadata”) or narrative content can also be added. In fact, you can add descriptive or narrative content to anything on the HistoryPin map, even if you didn’t add it yourself. This creates a rich opportunity for people to increase the communal knowledge about particular places and digital objects–for example, you may find a photo or video on HistoryPin which you know more about than the person who originally added it!

pointingrightRemember: If you are posting content from an oral history interview, make sure you have permission from the person you interviewed before making their interview public. If you do have permission but don’t have a YouTube account, don’t forget that if you created content as part of a class participating in the [True] Stories Project, we are happy to post your interview to our YouTube channel. Just email janerogersfield@gmail.com for more information!

The [True] Stories Project Presents Daniel Horowitz Garcia, StoryCorps Regional Manager


The [True] Stories Project and Rollins College is proud to host

Daniel Horowitz Garcia, StoryCorps Regional Manager

in an hour-long talk, workshop, and Q&A about StoryCorps and Oral History

Tune in through our [True] Stories YouTube Channel

Curating Oral History Collections: A Conversation with Hannah Wiatt Davis

Recently, Hannah Wiatt Davis of Florida State University spoke with Rachel Walton about audio preservation and curating oral history collections. Davis is an Archives Assistant and Audio Preservation Specialist at FSU, and [True] Stories is so grateful to have had her insight. Please listen to this recording of the conversation, and be sure to download the slides from the presentation as well.


Reposted Blog Post 4

On September 22, 2016, I interviewed Scott Wilson, a physical therapist who has been working at Physiomed for sixteen years. Having the interview with Scott opened my eyes to different perspectives of a physical therapy career. I was amazed to hear from Scott that since high school he knew that he wanted to be a physical therapist and ruled out all other medical professions. Not many people can say that ever since grade school, they knew right off the bat they wanted to be in a specific profession and pursue it until finally going into that profession. I was surprised to hear how many concepts from class Scott talked about during the interview such as active listening and therapeutic listening. From his interview, I took away some key lessons that could help me in my future endeavors. I realized how important active listening is to patients when working on their treatments plans. Although many patients come see Scott on a daily basis, he mentioned how important it is to give ones full attention to what the patient is saying, and take the time to understand their points of view. He mentioned that an active listener is one who acknowledges the patient and is interactive (nonverbally and verbally) while a passive listener does the opposite. Furthermore, being able to communicate to the level of the patient is a critical point in a physical therapy profession because it allows the patient to understand what you know about their condition and how to go treatment. Scott couldn’t stress enough to me that its important to go beyond just simply treating the symptoms of the patient, but rather understand the patients “why” and be able to educate patients about their condition and how its affecting their activities of daily living. After our conversation with Scott, It inspired me to continue pursing a career in physical therapy. In the past summers, I did shadow for Scott at Physiomed so it was helpful to interview him and learn more about the profession. I was able to get on a deeper level with him and understand the responsibilities, and important characteristics of a successful physical therapist.

Although the interview was an enjoyable experience, Scott and I experienced couple barriers and challenges. The first one was that I had trouble scheduling a time to interview. With Scott’s busy schedule, it was hard to set a time and day that would work for him when he wasn’t with a client. We decided that the best time would be the weekend since he leaves middle of the day. Knowing Scott’s hectic lifestyle with work and his family, it is a challenge for him to find a couple minutes for lunch or dinner. He is always working and doesn’t have the time for himself during the week. The second barrier I found while interviewing Scott was when he was eating and talking to me simultaneously. I felt that some of the questions took him longer to respond to because I could hear him eating in the background and he was probably more focused on his food than the question. I was understanding of the circumstances and continued on with my question. This could be considered a physiological barrier since he was exhausted and he just wanted to rejuvenate himself. Although these barriers arose during the interview, it did not make Scott’s responses unimportant or less accurate. He took some time to think through some questions, but overall he responded thoroughly to them, and I learned a lot of useful information from him.

My overall interview experience was great, and I learned a lot of valuable advice on interacting with patients and what it takes to be an excellent physical therapist. I am continuing to learn about this inspiring profession everyday, and I hope to one day become as successful of a physical therapist as Scott.

Blog #4

Before conducting this interview I was extremely nervous. Prior to this interview I have never interviewed anyone before. I don’t even like to talk on the phone due to the fact I do not like my voice. This experience was a great learning experience because I learned so many things I didn’t know. I thought I had an idea of how firefighting work but I never knew all the ins and outs until after I was finished conducting this interview. I never took the time to think about all the prepping and hard work firefighters have to do. I wouldn’t say it came as a surprise that they work so hard but it was very interesting that they have to prepare so much such as work out, train and prep clothes. I knew that listening and communication played a role in firefighting but I did not know that listening was the most important aspect of firefighting. Nina Stone said over and over that the best firefighter is one who listens because if you don’t listen you can fail the mission and/or lose a team member. I never thought about the barriers a firefighter can face until Nina brought it to my attention. Nina said focus is a key part of firefighting, especially when you are on a mission. The most challenging part of conducting this interview was trying to find a perfect time to actually sit down with Nina Stone. I am glad I chose to interview Nina Stone because not only did I learn about firefighting but I also learned a few life lessons that I will never forget. Overall I would say that this interview was a success but I could not have don’t it without the help of several classmates, professor Stone, and of course Nina Stone herself.

Blog post 4

My overall interview experience was very good. It was funny because I interviewed my boss and she got nervous. It was very surprising for me to see her in that state because she is usually so calm and has control over every situation. Some barriers that occurred during the interview included loud noises, people walking in, and she was nervous. They are remodeling the hospital so it was very frustrating, also the construction workers needed to get into her office so we had to pause the interview. I think pausing the interview threw Ms. Hudson off because she lost her train of thought, which made me nervous. This interview made me realize that no one is perfect no matter how important they may seem, everyone gets nervous and it is okay for me to be too. Other than my interviewee being nervous I got really awesome answers from her. She is the internal marketing manager for Florida Hospital, Winter Park campus. I have noticed with my time with her that all she does is listen to people around her and some things that she says helps are writing everything down in her notebook. She struggles with the memory part of the sier model so writing everything down and taking good notes has helped her. She also tries to use the persons name multiple times in the conversation to show them that she is listening and she cares. I noticed that in the interview she did this technique a lot even talking with me she said it helps her concentrate on the conversation better. Even though we experienced these particular barriers, I learned how to work around them and I think it made me a better listener. I am glad I chose to do this interview even though I was nervous I feel as if it helped me with listening in every day life.

Blog Post 4: A Reflection

Prior to this assignment, I had not interviewed anyone previously — especially a working professional. The entire experience was rather interesting because, although I have come in contact with those in the service industry before, I have never analyzed their experiences on the job. While spending my initial college years grabbing food at The Porch, I came in contact with Sophie, a hardworking waitress. However, like many individuals, I merely focused on spending time with those whom I was eating with, rather than the restaurant workers themselves. I was aware of Sophie and knew she provided excellent service, but I never acknowledged the barriers to listening she faced daily.
During the interview process, Sophie frequently mentioned that communication and listening were the most important aspects of her job. If she failed to listen to her customers, they may end up unsatisfied. Additionally, the customers may not give Sophie a generous tip at the end of the meal. Sophie also mentioned that external barriers existed while she was on the job, including music playing, sports games being displayed on the televisions, and physiological barriers. If she could not listen to her coworkers or customers effectively, she may be fired for not completing her job as well as she should.
The interview process was challenging in itself. It was difficult to agree on a meeting time because we were both busy. Moreover, once we found a day, it was sort of nerve-wracking to begin the process. Sophie had never been interviewed before and I had never interviewed someone myself. My interviewee felt nervous speaking into a microphone, which may have affected the interview process. Additionally, although I had many questions prepared in advance, Sophie spoke rather quickly and our interview ended sooner than I expected and hoped for. It was challenging to think of additional questions and improvise once I went through my prepared questions. However, I believe Sophie understood that I needed a certain time length for my project and tried to answer questions more in-depth. Ultimately, the entire process was a lot easier and went a lot more smoothly than I thought it would. I learned many things about Sophie as a person, as well as the service industry in general.