Upload your story

Our current moment in history is one that will be debated, discussed and contemplated for decades, if not centuries to come. We are witnesses to unprecedented and remarkable times and our individual stories, thoughts, hopes and fears, as we navigate uncharted waters, will play a vital role in helping future generations piece together an understanding of our experiences.

While the historians and researchers of the future will have access to a wealth of government and public sources, these provide just a glimpse into our current present, a present that is constantly changing in response to our changing experiences. Oral histories are a critical way to capture and preserve those stories and voices that are so often lost to time.

There are three steps to uploading your story

If you just want to upload your story and don’t need guidance, you can go straight to step 3.

Step 1: Read the guidelines and suggested questions

In a traditional oral history project, interviewers ask questions to interviewees, which often takes the form of a conversation. In this project, you will, in effect, be interviewing yourself.

To help you with this process, we have created a set of questions for you to answer. These questions cover a range of topics that will help future researchers better understand how people experienced the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can download our suggested questions here: Interview Questions

The questions are prompts to help you complete your own oral history. You can answer all of them or some of them. And, you can add your own questions. You do not have to complete questions in the order listed below. They are a guide to assist you.

You do not have to record your answers in a single sitting, but if you record your answers on multiple dates, please be sure to include the date and time at the beginning of any new recording sessions.

Oral histories are most beneficial when interviewees provide as much information and detail as possible. Interviewers often elicit this information through follow-up questions. Since you are interviewing yourself, you will not have the benefit of somebody asking you follow-up questions. So, be sure that your responses to the questions are as complete as possible.

Remember that some of the details of your life and the situation right now may seem trivial or obvious, but they might not be so obvious to someone looking at the archives one hundred years from now. Do not assume the person listening to this recording in the future understands what it is like to go through what you are going through right now so try to be as descriptive as you can..

Please remember that any answers you give will be included in a publicly accessible database, so please do not share any information that you would not like to be publicly available.

Be sure to turn on your recording device before you begin answering the questions.

  • What is the date and time?
  • What is your name, and what are the primary things you do on a day-to-day basis (for example, your job, your extracurricular activities/hobbies, etc.)?
  • Where do you live, and what is it like to live there?

  • When was the first time you learned about the coronavirus known as COVID-19? What do you remember about that first time?
  • How did family and friends react to the unfolding news?
  • Are there any particular sources you used to find out information?
  • What decisions have you had to make (if any) to protect yourself and your family?
  • If you had to go into quarantine or social isolation, what did you prioritise in your preparations?
  • Did you have trouble tracking down any important household items?

  • How have your thoughts changed since first hearing about the pandemic?
  • What issues have most concerned you about the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What are the concerns of other members of your family/friends?

  • What is your job or profession? If you are a student, what are you currently studying right now?
  • Has COVID-19 affected your job? In what ways? If a student, how has your coursework or class structure changed during this pandemic?
  • If working/studying from home: What is it like working and/or studying from home?
  • What concerns do you have about the effects of COVID-19 on your employment and the economy more broadly?
  • Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the employment of people you know? In what ways?

  • What are you missing most now that COVID-19 has affected daily life and routines?
  • Have you had important events put on hold, changed or cancelled?
  • Have you marked these events in the meantime?
  • How are you passing your free time at home during the pandemic?
  • Are you pursuing your hobbies or have you picked up any new ones?
  • How are you staying in contact with friends and loved ones if you cannot get together face-to-face?
  • Have you come across any funny or sad stories?
  • What new terms or phrases have you come across since the outbreak?
  • For some people, the outbreak has prompted them to look at other events such as the Spanish Flu, polio or TB outbreaks. Have you any family stories related to such events? If so, can you share them?

  • How has COVID-19 affected you and/or your family’s day-to-day activities?
  • How are you managing day-to-day activities in your household?
  • Has the COVID-19 outbreak affected how you associate and communicate with friends and family? In what ways?
  • What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced during the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • What have you, your family, and friends done for recreation during COVID-19 (feel free to include details about shows, games, books, etc.)?

  • How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected your community (Remember, you may be part of many communities including school, club, church, job, etc. You are welcome to speak about all of these communities)?
  • How are people around you responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Have you seen the people around you change their opinions, day-to-day activities, or relationships in response to the pandemic?
  • “Self isolation” and “flattening the curve” have been two key ideas that have emerged during the pandemic. How have you, your family, friends, and community responded to requests to “self isolate” and “flatten the curve”?
  • Has COVID-19 changed your relationships with family, friends, and community? In what ways?
  • Can you describe any events you have witnessed or heard of that capture your community’s response to the virus (example: community activism, organised activities such as bingo, gym classes)?

  • What have been your primary sources of news during the pandemic?
  • Have your news sources changed during the course of the pandemic?
  • What do you think are important issues that the media may or may not be covering?

  • How have leaders and government officials in your community responded to the outbreak?
  • Do you have any thoughts on how other jurisdictions are responding to the crisis differently?

  • Has your experience transformed how you think about your family, friends, and community? In what ways?
  • Knowing what you know now, what do you think that individuals, communities, or governments need to keep in mind for the future?
  • What do you think is important for people to remember about this moment in global and Irish history?
  • If you were asked to pick one object or artefact (apart from obvious ones such as masks or hand sanitisers) to represent life during COVID, what would it be?
  • Do you have any final thoughts?

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Step 2: Record your story

What you need

There are many devices that allow you to record your voice – smartphone, tablet, computer, or digital recorder.

In general, find the quietest room you can and speak as close to the device as is comfortable, or ideally, use headphones with an inbuilt microphone.

How to record on a..

  1. Open the native ‘Voice Memo’ app on your iPhone. If available, connect headphones with inbuilt microphone for best quality. 

2. Press big red circle to record, and speak.

As you talk you should see the sound waves register on the screen.

3. Press big red square to stop recording

Then press the three dots on the screen. 

4. Select ‘share’ followed by ‘mail’, send to your own email address. Open the mail on whatever device you will be uploading the audio from and save it to the hard drive.

5. Continue to fill out the rest of the Oral History response form.

Download the steps as a PDF:
How to record your oral history on an Apple iPhone

  1. Open the native ‘Voice Memos’ app on your tablet. If you do not already have the ‘Voice Memo’ app on your tablet you can download it here https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voice-memos/id1069512134

2. If available, connect headphones with inbuilt microphone for best quality. 

3. Press big red circle to record, and speak.

As you talk you should see the sound waves register on the screen.

4. Press the pause button to stop recording.

If you want to record more, press “resume”. When you are done press “done”.

Then press the upload icon on the screen. 

5. Select ‘mail’, send to your own email address.

Open the mail on whatever device you will be uploading the audio from and save it to the hard drive.

6. Continue to fill out the rest of the Oral History response form.

Download the steps as a PDF:
How to record your oral history on an Apple tablet

  1. If you do not already have the ‘Voice Memos’ app on your computer you can download it here https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voice-memos/id1069512134.

2. If available, connect headphones with inbuilt microphone for best quality.

3. Press big red circle to record, and speak.

As you talk you should see the sound waves register on the screen.

4. Press the pause button to  stop recording.

If you want to record more press “resume”. When you are done press “done”.

5. Save on to the hard drive. You can save it on your desktop by dragging the file  from Voice Memos and dropping it on the desktop.

6. Continue to fill out the rest of the Oral History response form.

Download the steps as a PDF:
How to record your oral history on an Apple computer

1. Open ‘Voice Record Pro’ app on device (download here for free https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ca.bejbej.voicerecordpro&hl=en_IE)

2. If available, connect headphones with inbuilt microphone for best quality. 

3. Under ‘record format’ select MP3 (MPEG).

Press REC button to record.

4. As you talk, the bars at the top of the screen should be moving.

5. Press Stop button.

Select ‘Send by Email’ and send to your own email address. Open the mail on whatever device you will be uploading the audio from and save it to the hard drive.

6. Continue to fill out the rest of the Oral History response form.

Download the steps as a PDF:
How to record on an Android phone

1. Open ‘Voice Record Pro’ app on device (download here for free https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ca.bejbej.voicerecordpro&hl=en_IE

2. If available, connect headphones with inbuilt microphone for best quality. 

3. Under ‘record format’ select MP3 (MPEG).

Press REC button to record.

4. As you talk, the bars at the top of the screen should be moving.

5. Press stop button to stop recording.

Save on to the hard drive.

6. Continue to fill out the rest of the Oral History response form.

Download the steps as a PDF:
How to record on an Android Tablet

  1. Search for the inbuilt Voice Recorder and open the app. 

2. Click on the microphone graphic in the centre of the screen to start recording.

3. Record as close as possible to the computer, or use headphones with inbuilt microphone.

4. Press stop when you have finished recording. 

5. The file will be stored in ‘Documents – Sound Recordings’ – this is where you will find it when it you are asked to ‘upload your audio’ in the file.

Download the steps as a PDF:
How to record on a Windows computer

Every recorder is unique, so you should check your user manual for instructions.

You will need to transfer the file to your computer in order to upload it to the oral history project.

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Step 3: Upload your story

After you have recorded your story, you need to upload it to the Irish COVID-19 Oral History Project. Please fill the form below to upload your oral history to the database.