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Re: What if interviewee wants to withdraw his interview?

Dear Soon Choon,

I think it is important to note that the interviewer is not the "creator" of the oral history. I like to use the term narrator for the person who is the subject of the interview. Without that person, we have nothing.

I have had people ask to withdraw from a project after the interview. I have always spoken to them directly, discussed their concerns, and have been able to keep the interview. Had I not ultimately won their consent, I would have destroyed the interview.


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Re: What if interviewee wants to withdraw his interview?

Dear Lye Soo,

I agree with William. I have two interviews (out of 30) in the last 16 years who have withdrawn from the process. They had both signed a Release Form, however, ethically I did not insist they comply. I was very disappointed but I respect their wish not to continue. I had sent them the transcripts but they were not returned. I enquired more than once but they kept putting me off, or saying they would get to it later, so I gave up. I still have them, can't bear to throw them out, maybe hoping one day .....

Re: What if interviewee wants to withdraw his interview?

We have had two instances of people wanting to withdraw their interview after it was completed. A gift agreement had been completed. We honored the narrators' request and destroyed the interview. For us, maintaining trust is an essential part of our oral history program. Unless you can convince the narrator to keep the interview in the collection and put a time seal (75 years) on it, I don't believe that it is ethical to keep the interview without the narrator's consent.

Pam Whitenack
Hershey Community Archives