Anyone considering conducting an oral history project and donating the end product to the Special Collections Division should contact the division during the planning of the project prior to conducting interviews to make sure that the project complies with these guidelines.
All projects conducted by the Special Collections Division and any projects or interviews considered for addition to the division's holdings must be in accordance with the evaluation guidelines, principles, and standards of the Oral History Association. Anyone considering such a project should become familiar with the guidelines, principles, and standards before conducting any interviews.
Baylor University Oral History Workshop on the Web, Judith Moyers Step-by-Step Guide to Oral History, and Southern Oral History Program contain guidelines and bibliographies for the entire oral history process and can assist in the organization of any potential project.
Donations of oral history interviews will be considered on a case-by-case basis. No interviews or projects will be accepted for inclusion in the division’s holdings without proper legal release forms from both the interviewee(s) interviewer(s). These forms should be obtained at the time that the interview is conducted. The donation should include only those materials that are original to your project. Any non-original material will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The donation must also include other documentation about the project, including such information as the equipment used, questions asked, interview information (time, place, date, names), how the project was organized, funding sources, etc. Each interview must be labeled appropriately and should be accompanied at the very least by a brief interview summary outlining the participants and major subjects covered. We prefer that interviews be accompanied by indexes and full transcripts.
Interviews accepted for inclusion in the division’s holdings must be of good quality and in an appropriate format that will enable us to preserve and provide access to them. This means that the best quality equipment possible within your project’s budget must be used to capture the interviews, that the recording media must meet certain preservation standards and be of high quality, that the equipment was operated properly, and that the resulting interview is in a non-proprietary format. The
’s Audio Field Recording Equipment Guide contains information about specific equipment currently available.
For projects recording interviews in analog format, a high quality audio cassette recorder is required. Interviews should be recorded on full-sized, C-60 (thirty minutes per side) audiocassette tapes. We will not accept microcassettes.
For projects recording interviews in digital format, files must be recorded in a non-proprietary format. The Vermont Folklife Center’s Field Recording in the Digital Age and Digital Editing of Field Audio offer guidelines on selecting digital equipment and recording media. We prefer .wav files recorded at 16 bit, with a sampling rate of 44.1kHz. We will also accept .mp3 files. All digital files must be on a CD or CompactFlash card and require no special software (outside of Windows Media Player or RealPlayer) in order to access the files.