The Marist College Herritage Project:A Practical Guide to Doing Oral History Section 8.


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ETHICAL AND LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

An important consideration before the actual interview, is obtaining permission to use the information in the interview. By means of a simple release form, the interviewer insures both the integrity and continuity of an oral history project and safeguards each interviewee’s rights. Where a transcript is available, it is usual practice for the interviewee to read through the entire manuscript and indicate whether any portions need to be sealed (kept confidential) for a stated length of time. When an indexed recording will be available to students, library patrons, or scholars, it is best to have the interviewee sign a release form at the conclusion of the interview session(s). In this latter situation--where a written manuscript is not available for perusal--it is the responsibility of the interviewer to pay heed to possible libelous statements or difficult statements and bring them to the narrator’s attention, portions of the interview can be erased if libelous, or the entire recording sealed if the information is sensitive.

Most interviews do not contain sensitive personal information and in most cases the signing of a release form is a simple task. A sample text for a release form should include the following explicit directions:


Donor Release Form -
Marist College Archives and Special Collections


I, _____________________________________, do hereby give to the Marist College Archives and Special Collections for such scholarly and educational uses as the Marist College Archivist shall determine the following audio-recorded interview(s) recorded on _______________________ as an unrestricted gift and transfer to Marist College legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude any use which I may want to make of the information in the recording myself.

_____________________________
Signature of Donor

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last updated on June 10, 2004