Oral History Workshop – 11

Classifying chapters

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.





In the previous part, while explaining the editing process, we reached to clarification of the names and ambiguous points. It is necessary to explain a little about this clarification.


Clarification of names

These descriptions must be written from first-hand sources. The first-hand source is different for each topic. For example, if an explanation is to going to be written about a speech of Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul), one should refer to Sahifeh-ye Imam [An anthology of Imam Khomeini’s speeches, messages, interviews, decrees, religious permissions, and letters]; or if we want to write the date of birth of a person, we must use his or her birth certificate or the person himself or herself has stated his date of birth somewhere.

Thus, sources like Wikipedia are not suitable and valid for doing this work.

The (pen) method we use to write the description should be short and fluent. The artistry of the editor will be shown here where the clarification is done.

At the end of the explanation, its source must be mentioned.

All these explanations will come in the footnotes of the book.


Determining categorization

Different categories can be considered for editing a book. The categorization based on interview sessions (session classification) or based on the date of events (time classification) or different topics (thematic classification) or other such models can be used as an example in this regard. The editor should identify the categorization model based on the interview text. These categories will actually be the chapters of the book.


Classifying text chapters

After determining the type of category and its number, the interview text, which is consecutive, will be divided accordingly and each part will be considered in the chapter. It can be imagined that we have as many empty boxes as the number of book chapters that should be filled with the desired text.

This part is the most important part of editing and this work should be done carefully so that every article is put in its place and nothing is missed.


Keeping or deleting questions in the text

Here a question is raised: should the questions that were asked from the narrator during the interview remain in editing or they should be deleted?

Currently, there are both types of books in which there are questions and answers and books in which only the words of the narrator are published. So, both methods can be done.

Today, removing the question from the edited text is dominant but if we are looking for pure history, we have no choice but to keep the questions; because the question is a part of oral history and by removing it, we will make the work incomplete. But if we consider the audience and want to read the text more fluently and easily and connect with it more, we should remove the interview questions. In the end, it is up to the editor to decide whether to include the interview questions in the text or not.

For instance, the Foundation for Preservation of Works and Publication of Values of Holy Defense published about 300 volumes of books with questions and answers. Apparently, it is now planning to publish a number of books without question; so both are possible.


Personal experience

Regardless of whether the employer wants the book with or without questions, if you have the right to choose, it is suggested that you edit the book without questions and answers for the first two or three works. It seems that when the questions are removed and the text is written in a unified way, the work of editing will be easier and on the other hand, the defects of the work will be less visible.

Experience has shown that people who have removed the interview questions in the editing section in their first works have grown sooner and on the other hand, the audience has established a better relationship with their work.

You should also notice that in universities, more attention is paid to works that contain both questions and answers, because they believe that it is more principled, more scientific and specialized; but the general audience is looking for a work that is easier to read.


Number of Visits: 1590


Full Name:

Nurse of Fav Hospital

“I didn’t see this event in Ayoubi Hospital, but I did in Fav Hospital exactly. At least once a day, we witnessed the flight of Iraqi jets from that area which came to strike the hospital. Of course, our forces poured so much dirt and sand on the concrete roof of the hospital that it became like a hill, and the guys could hardly understand the sound of the bomb and...

Report on the Fourteenth Conference of Oral History- 3rd and final part

Connecting oral history to the body of power is traumatic
According to the Iranian Oral History Website, the 14th Oral History Conference titled “Oral History on Scale” was held by the History Department of the University of Isfahan and the Oral History Association of Iran on Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024; professors, experts, and ...
A review of twenty years of oral history in Iran

Scientific and professional authority; perspective of Iranian Oral History Association

If a person has a personal library in his or her house, one or more oral history books are seen among them. In recent decades, the wave of book lovers has turned towards the field of oral history, and all this rising trend is owed to the activists in this field.


A memory from Asadollah Tajrishi
At the beginning of my arrival in Evin Prison, I was taken to solitary confinement as always and after a few days, I was transferred to the public cell. The public cells had been located in two floors. The arrangement of these cells in the cells of 1355 and 1356 was such that on the lower floor, there was a ward ...