About Memoar

The Memoar story

Memoar, Norwegian organisation for oral history, was founded (2015) by persons with background from media and media developement, with weak links to oral history traditions in the universities. In our opinion, this difference has been productive in four ways.

First: We work with video. Seeing the interviewee telling her/his stories gives the user better understanding and more information than audio only, and substantially more than reading transcripts. Our experience is that people are not reluctant to being videofilmed.

Second: Our slogan - «Everybody has a story to share» - reflects a «history from below»-standpoint that includes collective responsibility for transferring the story of our times to future generations. Therefore, the recording of an interview remains the intellectual property of the interviewee (and the interviewer). It is their expression, and they are free to publish it. So, we encourage them to share their stories with future generations through public archives, and with contemporaries through social media. Almost everyone do so.

Third: We do not transcribe. To change a video recording into a text document means to reduce it from a primary source to a secondary. Instead, we copy the filmmaker's method for documentation of her/his footage: We log it. We produce a document with detailed keywords and timecodes, from which the user will get an overview of a several hours long interview in one page, and find interesting sequences in minutes.

Fourth: We believe that everybody can interview. We are encouraging public libraries to establish interview studios for anyone to use, and public archives to recieve documented interviews from anyone. Our vision is a huge public collection of documented oral history videos from our times, to be used by researchers as well as heirs or artists or other parts of future and present public.


IOHA 2018 - presented by Bjørn Enes

At the International Oral History Associations conference in Finland, 2018, this was presented at one of the workshops.

IOHA is an association of oraL history organisations all over the world.