Saturday, 3 September 2011

Oral History

For a few years, we've talked about adding oral history recordings into our collection - to help capture some of the stories of people's lives and share them through our displays and things. We currently have copies of oral histories about the 1984 floods in Otautau derived from the Southland Oral History Project. But we haven't yet started our own collection of oral histories.

This week, we've inched closer to that goal. We've drafted an oral history agreement form which is different from most others. Most oral history agreements state that the copyright belongs to the institution or group who are doing the project unless the interviewee or 'depositor' stipulates otherwise. This is bad news for someone who might not read the form in detail and just sign it faithfully. Also most forms don't allow the person to name who will take over their copyright once they are no longer able to exercise it.

Our form, which is still in draft, covers these issues and places all power and control in the hands of the interviewee. They retain their copyright, even if they just sign the form without reading. And we, as an institution, must seek their written permission to access (listen to) and use the recording. And the same will go for any member of the public.

The next step is to develop a simple questionnaire that will be a good jumping off place for oral history interviews.

This year, we hope to do our first oral history recording. So if you know of anyone who wants to be interviewed or you want to be interviewed yourself, please drop us a line. This is going to be an exciting opportunity for people to record their life stories for their family/whanau and potentially the community. If you want to jump on board and move this project forward, please get in touch.

We're open Wednesdays and Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and by request. Your comments are always welcome!

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