Over the past three decades, oral history (OH) has been deeply transformed by the advent of digital technologies. The digital turn leads to growing number of online OH databases, resulting from “process-oriented” projects (i.e., life story interviews conducted without specific research questions). Large amounts of such data have been deposited in archives, available not only for secondary analysis by researchers who did not participate in the initial data collection, but also for other social actors like teachers, educators, and documentarists. However, in order to use OH materials efficiently and meaningfully, it is important to understand how people make sense of such video recordings in social interaction. Fundamental questions thus emerge in regard to secondary analysis and practical utilization of archived audiovisual OH material, such as: What are the features of OH interview as a social object? What makes it meaningful and interpretable? How much do we need to know about the socially situated character of the interview in order to understand it properly? Is there “too little” or “too much” context in relation to OH? How do people make sense of OH interviews in social practice, and relate it to their broader historical knowledge?

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