CIRCA:Oral History Interviews


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File:Research Protocol.pdf

See also Interviews from Rockwell's Project Management Guide.

Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide

Donald A. Ritchie New York: Oxford University Press 2003

Chapter 2: Setting Up an Oral History Project

"Oral history should be collecting not what is already known information, observations and opinions unavailable elsewhere. Oral history projects are often designed to supplement existing archival material, filling in gaps in paper sources..." (47)

- begin with a few well-conducted, in-depth interviews and process fully (prepare/conduct interview, transcribe). This will help establish a pattern of management and paperwork.

"Federal copyright laws grant copyright automatically to anyone whose words and ideas are recorded in tangible form, for a period lasting until 50 years after that person's death". (75)

- archives require a deed of gift or contract before opening an oral history for research.

- deed of gift establishes who (interviewer, oral history project, or repository) owns the copyright in the interview and what may be done with it. Some deeds jointly assign copyright to the public domain (all parties waive their rights to copyright); this simplifies the administration but offers little control.

- deeds of gift should be drawn broadly enough to cover electronic and other forms of reproduction.

- projects should develop a standard deed of gift or contract (can be used for all interviewees).

- verbal agreement on the recording may serve as an oral contract should interviewee die before signing gift/contract (otherwise must seek out next of kin). To avoid headaches the deed of gift should be collected when the interview is collected.

- interviewees may close all or portions of an interview for as long as necessary.

For further information please see:

Appendix 1 - Principles and Standards of the Oral History Association

Appendix 2 - Sample Legal Release Forms

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