Swimming in the Exaflood: Oral History as Information in the Digital Age

  • Stephen M. Sloan
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Oral History book series (PSOH)


As this volume well demonstrates, the impact of digital media on oral history is wide and far-reaching. In a relatively short time, new technologies have revolutionized countless aspects of the work of oral history—from creation, to preservation, to use—and raised a multitude of discussions among oral historians on the impact of new technologies on oral history practice. What is also needed is a discourse on the nature of oral history in the midst of this dramatic change. In the revolution brought about by the introduction and rapid evolution of the digital age, what is the place of oral history as information in that new environment? As well-known professor and management consultant Peter Drucker declared in 1999, the first phase of the IT (Information Technology) revolution was focused on the “T” rather than the “I.” In the new millennium, Drucker argued, the most pressing question that must be dealt with is the nature of information itself: “What is the MEANING of information and its PURPOSE?” 2 For this conversation, I would argue that oral historians need to follow the same path. It has been important to examine the technological aspect of this revolution, but what about the meaning and purpose of oral history as part of this new information landscape?


Digital Data Digital Information Oral History Digital Humanity Digitize Book 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Douglas A. Boyd and Mary A. Larson 2014

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  • Stephen M. Sloan

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