Welcome to H-Oralhist, a member of the H-Net, Humanities & Social Sciences On-Line initiative. H-Oralhist is a network for scholars and professionals active in studies related to oral history. It is affiliated with the Oral History Association.

Recent Content

Re: release form dilemma

Hi Teresa,

Thanks so much for your response to my dilemma. I too had never heard of an archive or university library that would refuse to allow any restrictions -- and thus it never occurred to me to ask about this when I was being hired as the oral historian for this project.

Re: release form dilemma


I work in an oral history program housed in a university library, and we would never, never ask a narrator to sign an agreement that didn't allow them to review the transcript or timed log and that didn't allow for any restrictions. As you know, that's completely contrary to all oral history tradition and ethical practice. In fact, even when archives are accepting standard paper collections, there's typically some room for the donor to negotiate a less encompassing agreement.

Re: release form dilemma

Jayne, would you sign a release form like this? I wouldn't. It is precisely the kind of language that I always delete in a book contract. In fact, I don't even understand how the narrator retains copyright but the library can do whatever they want. I hope that we can get John Neuenschwander to comment on this. But beyond the legal issue, does this seem ethical?


ANN: Audio field recording workshop at Vermont Folklife Center

Recording Audio for Ethnography, Oral History and Digital Storytelling Workshop

Saturday, May 21, 2016, Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury, VT

Audio is a powerful medium for capturing human experience and human expression. In the context of cultural sustainability efforts, audio is an extremely useful tool for documenting local knowledge, exploring values and perceptions, and building resources for understanding and supporting cultural practices.