How long are projects?

Recorded oral history interviews usually run anywhere from 2 to 12 hours in length and are scheduled over several days or weeks at a location of the narrator’s choosing, normally at a client’s home or at our home office in Madison, Wisconsin. However, during this age of global pandemic, we are currently offering remote interviewing through various online platforms or by using digital recorders that we send directly to you. Within a project, interview sessions normally run 90 to 120 minutes. Post-production and project delivery are normally completed within 4-12 months of the final interview.

How much does this cost?

Budgets range greatly depending on the scope, format, and amount of production involved. After determining with you the scope, format, and approximate length of your project, we are happy to provide you an estimate for your project, free of charge. If our services do not match your available resources or specific wishes, we will do our best to point you towards other services and resources. For a general price list or an individual estimate, please contact us.

Who holds the copyright?

Explicit oral history agreements regarding copyright, confidentiality, and standard use and distribution are discussed in our preparation phase and defined in our service agreement with you. You decide who will receive copies and access to your archive.

Where can I meet you?

Once our world emerges from the global pandemic with widespread vaccinations and safe ways to meet in person, Life History Services will resume providing face-to-face interviewing services at the local, national, and international level. Reasonable travel budgets will be included in project estimates and may include air and ground transportation, lodging, travel time, and miscellaneous expenses. Until then, we will be using high end recording equipment to conduct interviews remotely via phone and internet.

What formats do you recommended?

Permanency, durability, and accessibility of oral histories for generations to come are essential to any successful oral history project. Since one cannot go back in time and improve the quality of an original recording, the best-case scenario involves using the highest archival-quality media available today. After extensive research and experience with numerous recording formats, Life History Services recommends the following video, audio, and print options. See what we offer for specifics on the deliverables for audio, video, and print productions.


Broadcast quality digital audio recordings (44.1kHz, 24 bit, wav & mp3 files), professionally mastered and transferred to audio CDs and hard drive devices for listening and storage.


Broadcast quality, high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) digital video, professional mastered, authored, and transferred to DVDs and hard drive devices for viewing and storage.

Print and digital

Transcription of all interviews in hard copy and digital formats. If requested, development of well-written organized and compelling manuscript from oral history transcripts, organized into full-length, first-person memoirs or shorter, third-person biographies. Professional graphic design to incorporate photos and other archival documents.  Print-on-demand book publishing for private and/or public distribution.

Virtual and hard storage archiving

We deliver all interviews and produced materials to you on a project hard drive. Cloud-based storage systems are also recommended and offered via a project website or archive, accessible privately or to the public, per you request.

How much do you edit?

All oral history projects are delivered to you in their entirety, with some basic editing. Light video editing incorporates music, titles and credits. Audio editing may include subject indexing and sound mastering. Transcription of interviews involves light editing for grammar, clarity, and readability. Print manuscripts are developed from interview transcripts and involve several rounds of review with the narrator(s).  A list and explanation of all prices and services will be furnished upon request.

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