University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Twentieth Century Think Tank > Listening to scientists' stories: using the British Library's 'An Oral History of British Science' archive

Listening to scientists' stories: using the British Library's 'An Oral History of British Science' archive

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The British Library’s ‘An Oral History of British Science’ (OHBS) was created in 2009 to address the dearth of oral history archives dedicated to capturing the personal experiences of British scientists. This paper examines the implications of using an oral history archive to write about scientists’ identities during my doctoral research and for historians of science more generally. The advantages of using life history interviews from the archive to explore scientists’ narratives are situated within the longer historiographical trajectories of the ‘history from below’ approach of oral history and the ‘great men’ foundations of history of science. In addition, this article reflects on the process of using a recent oral history archive that has not only allowed for an almost unprecedented access into the personal and working lives of recent scientists but also afforded a greater insight into the creation and aims of the OHBS itself.

This talk is part of the Twentieth Century Think Tank series.

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