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Since formally becoming an official OHA task force in 2014, the MTF has worked to exchange and analyze both current and best practices for making oral history accessible through thoughtful metadata applications and to promote collaboration across institutions.  Our work is closely aligned with OHA’s Archives Interest Group but our focus is specifically metadata considerations, decision-making, and best practices.

Although we are each also members of other organizations, doing this work under the OHA umbrella makes the most sense to us.  Archivists and librarians are not our only audiences; we seek to provide meaningful guidance about what to collect for oral history that reaches OHA’s broad and multidisciplinary community.

2019 Task Force Membership

Lauren Kata, Archives and Special Collections Librarian, New York University Abu Dhabi

Natalie Milbrodt, Metadata Services Coordinator and Director of the Queens Memory Project, Queens Public Library

Steven Sielaff, Senior Editor and Collections Manager, Baylor University Institute for Oral History

Jaycie Vos, Special Collections Coordinator and University Archivist, University of Northern Iowa

Other former OHA member partners: Cyns Nelson (founding member), Doug Boyd, Nancy MacKay (member emeritus)


  • 2015 – Publication of micro-essays and case studies on the Oral History in the Digital Age platform
  • 2016 – Working group session hosted by Baylor University in Waco, Texas, sponsored by both OHA and Baylor
  • 2017 – Phase 1 of a national oral history metadata survey focusing on academic oral history programs
  • 2018 – Phase 2 of a national oral history metadata survey open to any institution with oral history collections
  • 2018 – Production of an oral history metadata field rubric, introduced at the OHA Annual Meeting in Montreal
  • 2019 – Development of an online tool for metadata decision-making, based on user personas (In Progress)
  • 2019 – Reporting of survey results in a variety of spaces (In Progress)

Current Projects

The MTF is currently focused on two major projects in 2019:

  1. Analyzing the data from both phases of the national survey and determining the best way to share the results
  2. Exploring opportunities to provide access to the metadata rubric, specifically via an online platform or tool
  3. Signing a Memo of Understanding with Metropolitan Library Council/New York City. Details here:

Call For Contributions

Your perspective is valuable! The OHA Metadata Task Force is gathering practitioner personas to aid in the creation of an online metadata mapping tool for oral history collections. Personas are a popular user-centered design method used to understand the needs and preferences of the people for whom we design things. The MTF wants to design our resources with the needs and preferences of Oral History practitioners in mind. To do this, we are gathering as many personas as possible to demonstrate the variety of metadata needs and considerations that exist within our diverse community of practitioners. To help us build that rich collection of data, please click here to complete your own persona profile. It will take about 20 minutes to thoughtfully answer this 10-question profile. This exercise will help you to think about what organizational and collection-related factors impact what information you choose to capture and preserve about oral histories. To see persona profiles created by other practitioners, click here. At the conclusion of creating your persona profile, you will gain access to the complete element set for Oral History metadata that the MTF has been gathering and refining over the past few years of research.

Contact Information

If you are interested in contacting the MTF, you can reach us via email at moc.l1634376422iamg@1634376422atada1634376422tem.a1634376422ho1634376422