Sometimes you ask yourself "well why do I do it?" and it's difficult to find a concrete reason other than just everything means I don't want to be anywhere else Ron Fallows - Astley Bridge CC
Project supported by MCC Lord's and University of Glamorgan

Marylebone Cricket Club, Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood, London, NW8 8QN | Project enquiries: Neil Robinson | 020 7616 8559

Oral History - The Aftermath: Cataloguing and Editing

Here are some notes on cataloguing your interviews, as well as some step-by-step instructions on editing. Both of these actions are very helpful in creating Digital Stories.


Now you’ve got your interviews, it’s time to process the results! Here’s just a few tips on cataloguing the interviews you’ve done.

  • Don’t bother to fully transcribe your interviews – it’s time consuming, not very useful and frankly, really boring!
  • Do make a good summary of the recording so you know (and whoever listens in the future knows) what’s discussed. Oral history interviews that haven’t been catalogued are often useless.
  • How detailed you want to make your notes is up to you. TTF’s Emma makes very detailed notes, however the British Library suggests you keep it brief and simply record a clear statement on what has been spoken about during the interview. A shorter summary will be more useful to future researchers, whereas detailed notes will make your life easier if you plan to turn this work into digital stories.
  • Whichever way, make sure you take note of the time codes when you note so you can easily find the position on the recording again (especially if the interview is very long!). Use the format [10:25] for ten minutes, 25 seconds. This will save you so much time when you want to find certain parts of the recording
  • It’s also useful to note the topics or themes discussed in the interview, especially if you’re going to use them to make digital stories or write chapters of books. For example, at TTF we often use large themes like ‘gender’ or ‘migration’, but we also use topics specific to each club. For example, Blaina CC had many interviews marked with ‘mining’ and Spondon CC had interviews with ‘ground move’ as both were significant topics in the club’s past

Any work you do in this area will greatly help your successors in the club and your own creation of digital stories or book chapters. It can feel really boring but it’s definitely not a waste of time!

Click here to view a TTF catalogue example. This is the catalogue entry for the interview with Diane Williams of Blaina CC.


We’re not audio editors here at TTF, so this section is just to give you some basics. Anyone with better knowledge out there who would like to contribute, we’d love to hear from you!

As mentioned in the ‘Digital Story’ sections, there are two main ways of creating a Digital Story but the principles of editing remain the same. You can either write a 2-3 minute long script and fit pictures around that recording, or you could edit your oral history interviews into a 2-3 minute narrative. Whichever way you choose, some audio editing can make the recording sound better.

  • Most importantly: KEEP AN UNEDITED COPY OF THE INTERVIEW/RECORDING. Call this the ‘master’ copy and never touch it!
  • Your job will be much easier if you’re editing anything if there’s no background noise. It is very difficult to get out background noise from a recording using these basic hints. So the old adage: Garbage In, Garbage Out, is very important.
  • At TTF we use Audacity – a free and easy-to-use audio editor that shows you the recording in 'waveform'  i.e. you can see the soundwaves on the screen as you listen to them.

Using Audacity

We've put this guide in pdf format for you to print out and use. To download, click here

The Audacity editor - an open file showing a stereo (left and right channels) recording in waveform
  • Firstly, import your sound file into the editor. Go to ‘File’ > ‘Open’ and select your file
  • Before you start, normalise the entire recording. This will adjust the sound levels so they are consistent throughout the track. To do this, select the entire recording [‘Edit’ > ‘Select All’] and then normalize [‘Effect’ > ‘Normalize’]
  • With Audacity, you can zoom in and out of sections of the track using the zoom in and out tool on the taskbar (magnifying glasses with ‘+’ or ‘-‘ in them).
  • To select sections of the track, drag the mouse across recording, hold the left mouse button down and select the section you’d like, as you would if selecting text.
  • Cut sparingly - don’t worry about cutting out ‘ums’ or coughs or so on – use the natural recording
  • Only cut at ‘zero crossing points’ – that is when there is no sound and the waveform is flat. If you cut the track in between zero crossing points then you won’t notice any change when you listen back. To find the best part to cut, zoom in on the recording. To make a cut, simply highlight the part of the recording you want to delete and press ‘delete’.

A highlighted section between two 'zero crossing points'. Cutting between these points should lead to a smooth sound.
  • If when you listen back to your audio track you hear 'clicks', you haven't got it quite right. Depending on how noticeable these are you may want to undo and cut at a different point. (To undo, go to 'Edit > Undo' or use the normal keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Z)
  • If you’ve recorded from a script, you probably need to only cut around the speech you have recorded. For those of you who are more ambitious, the process is the same, but a bit trickier. For more help, see ‘How to Create a DS (2)
  • Your final track will sound much better if you ‘fade in’ at the beginning and ‘fade out’ at the end. That way you won’t have a sudden start or stop to your audio track. To do this, select the first half second to second of your track and go to ‘Effect’ > ‘Fade In’. Then select the last half second to second of your track and go to ‘Effect’ > ‘Fade Out’.
  • Finally, again, select the entire track and normalise it so that it sounds consistent.
  • To create your new file, go to ‘File’ > ‘Export as WAV…’ Then choose where you want to save your file. Make sure you do this instead of simply ‘save’ – if youdo not you will only save it as an audacity project file and you will not be able to play that through any other programme.

Audacity - Downloads and more help

Audacity is free, open source software. To download the latest version, visit

There are plenty of tips on their website, but for more help and advice see their wiki page