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Oral History

A guide to oral history resources at the Southwest Collection and beyond.

What is an Oral History Release?

In initial conversations, the interviewee and interviewer make a verbal agreement to record an oral history interview. However, verbal consent is just the first step. A written formal agreement must be signed and placed on file in order for an oral history interview to be donated to an archival repository. In this agreement, rights and usage will be explicitly stated and any restrictions or deviations should be addressed. The Southwest Collection has a standard oral history release form for interviews conducted, as well as a deed of gift that will be signed if an interviewer is donating their interviews to our archive. 

Note about IRBs

Oral histories traditionally have been excluded from requiring IRB review, falling under the category of "scholarly and journalistic activities." The Southwest Collection does not complete IRBs for our oral history projects. When we council classes on individual oral history interviews, IRB is not brought into the discussions. We recognize that some professors working with graduate students may wish to seek out IRB approval depending on the research project and the nature and topics of the interviews. Consult the Human Research Protection Program on campus for questions.

The Oral History Association has more information about IRBs on their website. 

Examples of Oral History Releases

Release form templates can be found in many of the best practices guides and books listed in the oral history resources section of this guide. 

A sampling of release forms found online: