The Marist College Herritage Project:A Practical Guide to Doing Oral History Section 8.
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:
Marist College Archives and Special Collections
last updated on June 10, 2004