Oral History Workshop – 10


Shahed Yazdan
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The oral history website is going to provide the educational materials of some oral history workshops to the audience in written form. The present series has been prepared using the materials of one of these workshops. As you will see, many of the provided contents are not original or less said contents, but we have tried to provide categorized contents so that they can be used more.





There are three methods for editing an interview text; our policy determines which method to be selected.


First method: the text of the interview should not be manipulated much, it just becomes eligible with the punctuation marks, and if it is not advisable for some parts to be published, dots are placed instead of the words of the narrator and finally the text of the interview is published with minimal changes. The Oral History Project of Iran at Harvard University [1] claims to have done this.

In this method, since it is said that a historical document is going to be produced, no editing is done in the text and only the questions and answers are published in the same way as they were done.


Second method: It is exactly the opposite of the first method. Some editors, after reading the memories in the interview, rewrite it with their own pen. In this method, the information is received from the interview, but its type has changed.


• In the first method we see the minimum change and in the second method the maximum change.

• The first method is closer to the document and the second method to the story.

• In the first method, the edited text is cited without any attractiveness and the produced text with the second method is attractive without citing.

Although these two methods have audiences and supporters, they are not very popular among the experts. Even the oral history project of Harvard University after publishing its first books tried to make changes in the method of doing its work to make it more attractive.


Third method: This method is a middle one and a combination of the first and second ones, which are usually used in oral history books for editing. In continuation of this training, the third method will be explained.


This method (the third method) has several steps that are explained in order.


Reading the interview text several times


In the first step, the text of the interview should be read several times. This should be repeated until the editor identifies with the narrator. At this stage, you should have domination over all the memories and be able to retell the memories as the narrator has said.


Removing repeated items


There may be repeated topics during the interview sessions. In the second step, these repeated items are removed. In the meantime, complete items should be kept and nothing should be missed.


Finding ambiguous items


In the next step, the items that may remain unfinished or are vague and ambiguous for the editor should be extracted.


Supplementary interview


After extracting incomplete and ambiguous items, these items should be received from the narrator using a supplementary interview and fixed again in the appropriate place in the interview text.


Determining the audience


The editor or the policy maker or the project manager should determine the audience of the book. To continue editing, it is very important to know for what type of audience and with what level of literacy the final product is going to be written, so that based on that we can do the next step, i.e. rationalization.


The type of audience is different for different projects, but for example, in the Office of Resistance Literature of Tehran’s Art Center, the audience of the book is usually considered to be undergraduate students.

Rationalizing the names and vague points


During the interview, the narrator may have used nouns such as names of places, events, people, incidents, terms, etc., which are vague and unfamiliar to the audience. At this stage, it is necessary to extract these names and write additional explanations for each one. As mentioned, these names and rationalization will be chosen based on the type of audience considered for the book.



Number of Visits: 913


Full Name:

Heads of National Front Meet Imam

On ninth of Aban, 1357 (October 31, 1978), misters Dr. Karim Sanjabi, Haj Manian and Mahdian came to Paris from Tehran to meet the Imam. Dr. Banisadr, Mr. Salamatian and Haj Ahmad [Imam's son] was also present in their first meeting with the Imam. After greetings, Mr. Sanjabi who had been sitting next to the imam, started talking quietly - almost whispering; suddenly, the imam pulled their heads back and said:

Secret campaigns

Sedigheh Amir Shahkarami the narrator: we were two sisters and three brothers who started secret campaigns against the regime during the Shah and in order not to be arrested by SAVAK (secret police), we had a covert life during the years 52 and 53 (1973 and 1974). At first, Mehdi and Mohammad Amir Shahkarami were the members of the Mujahedin Organization. But after a while, they realized the deviation of their beliefs, ...

Establishment of Islamic Revolution Central Committed as narrated by Alviri

At this time (Bahman of 1357 – February 1979), grouplets such as Peoples Fedai Guerrillas and Mojahedin Khalq Organization misused the mayhem of the country, storing a large quantity of weapons in their team house. Even when the Imam ordered the people to hand over the weapons to the mosques, instead of handing over their weapons to the mosques, these grouplets built a headquarters and took the peoples weapons and stored them.
A cut from memoirs of Iran Torabi

Preparation of Soosangerd Hospital

We arrived in Soosangard around noon. It was the 21st day of Mehr [1359] (October 13, 1980). The situation of the city was almost the same as Ahvaz, and even worse. There was dirt and destruction everywhere. The city had almost been deserted. As Ahvaz Red Crescent had said, the city was still within reach of the enemy and no place was safe from their artillery and mortar fire. We rushed to the city hospital.