Oral History Projects:
The Regional History Project has been documenting the history of the Central Coast of California and the institutional history of UC Santa Cruz since 1963, through oral history. This web site includes the complete catalog of our collection, oral history resources, and links to other oral history sites on the Internet. All of the oral histories are available in full text (PDF) through our Digital Collections site and many are available on the University of California's escholarship site. Copies of our oral histories are also available for the cost of photocopying, which varies according to the length of the document.
New! Selected oral histories are also available in audio format through the University of California's escholarship site. Follow the link to the escholarship site and navigate to the audio files under "Supporting Material" in the bottom left column. The audio is available in MP3, both streaming and downloadable formats.
Viewing Note: If you experience technical difficulties with accessing the PDFs though Digital Collections, try a different browser or contact us to let us know you are experiencing difficulties. For the best viewing experience, we recommend the following browsers: Safari 5+, Internet Explorer 8.0+, Google Chrome 12+. The recommended viewer for PDF transcript and text files is Adobe® Reader® version 8.0+.
For most of the oral histories, we offer to links to viewing: UCSC Library Digital Collections, which allows you to search the oral histories within the broader context of photographs, maps, and other archival material available in Special Collections and the University of California's eScholarship archive, which publishes original scholarly research from research units and scholars throughout the UC system. Some users have reported that the eScholarship platform is easier to search, as the oral history transcripts are not divided into sections.
Please contact Irene Reti at email@example.com for ordering information on the particular oral history in which you are interested. All of our oral histories are available to the public at the Special Collections and Archives of McHenry Library. Call 831-459-2547 for their hours. Most of the oral histories are available in the circulating stacks of the library. You may search the library's Cruzcat catalog to find the call number for the oral history you are looking for.
If you are a faculty member or a student wanting to learn about oral history research as a field and as a methodology, you might find our Oral History Research and Resources libguide helpful.
Professor of History of Consciousness James Clifford has published a fascinating and beautiful new book about the UCSC campus entitled In the Ecotone: The UC Santa Cruz Campus. It features Clifford's photographs of the campus, as well as several evocative and thought-provoking essays that incorporate quotes from oral histories conducted by the Regional History Project. The book is available from the Bay Tree Bookstore and in Special Collections at McHenry Library.
Oral history is a method of conducting historical research through recorded interviews between a narrator with personal experience of historically significant events and a well-informed interviewer, with the goal of adding to the historical record. Because it is a primary source, an oral history is not intended to present a final, verified, or "objective" narrative of events, or a comprehensive history of a place, such as the UCSC campus. It is a spoken account, reflects personal opinion offered by the narrator, and as such it is subjective. Oral histories may be used together with other primary sources as well as secondary sources to gain understanding and insight into history.