Case study on a scientific oral history project using information practice analysis


  • Deborah A. Garwood Drexel University



information practice, information work, information work model, oral history project, oral history, archives, libraries, special collections, metadata


Introduction. This investigation explored 21st century stewardship of a late 20th century scientific oral history project through the lens of information practice. Oral history project stewardship and reuse are understudied.

Literature review. Oral histories foreground human agency in the world. Often studied singly, many reflect an oral history project’s historiographic context. Stewardship documentation by multiple stakeholders accrues over time. The author developed an information practice analysis tool for systematic exploration of oral history stewardship documentation.

Method. A case study approach and qualitative content analysis techniques guided investigation of documentation for an oral history project held at Science History Institute in Philadelphia. Textual data was collected for a purposive sample.

Analysis and results. Multiple stakeholders’ documentation schema for the purposive sample were analysed in Excel and Word. Results coded five information work models for stakeholder information practices.

Discussion. The information work models portrayed stakeholder information practices as mechanisms for stability in the stewardship of contextual assets, and mechanisms for transformation through staff knowledge, as situational assets.

Conclusion. Information practice analysis of oral history stewardship in this case study systematised stakeholders’ and user perspectives on access. Implications for theory development lie in leveraging the stability and transformative agency of stewardship and reuse.




How to Cite

Garwood, D. A. (2024). Case study on a scientific oral history project using information practice analysis. Information Research an International Electronic Journal, 29(2), 322–340.