What does COHA do?
The Canadian Oral History Association publishes Oral History Forum d’histoire orale. The Forum was disseminated in print format from 1975 to 2006. Since 2007, it has been published as an online journal only; since 2010 it has been published by Athabasca University Press. Forum and this website disseminate information on all aspects of oral history and endeavour to stimulate quality research as well as to encourage high standards for the creation, preservation and use of oral history documents. The Association also sponsors national conferences to bring together practitioners for the exchange of information and experience and to promote the development of oral history in the different regions of Canada.
This educational non-profit association is formed to:
a) encourage and support the creation and preservation of sound recordings which document the history and culture of Canada.
b) develop standards of excellence and increase competence in the field of oral history through study, education and research.
c) work with and support any other association or institution whose objectives are consistent with those of the association.
Why is COHA needed?
As the range of possibilities for the use of magnetic tape became evident, more and more people began to use the tape recorder in historical and other research. Few had much familiarity with the technology involved or the myriad problems that arise in interviewing and recording situations. Little had been written on this subject and researchers learned from trial and error. Lack of contact led some individuals and groups to duplicate efforts. Moreover, the results displayed a great variation in quality both of sound and content. The preservation of sound recordings also required new archival procedures, new types of finding aids, a new interpretation of copyright, and a set of ethics to govern the practice and use of oral history.
The Canadian Oral History Association (COHA) was formed to help the diverse individuals and groups who express an interest in oral history and to deal with these problems by providing a clearing-house for information and a link among projects underway across Canada.