Phase Ib: Prepare for the Interview

The general editors will send a potential narrator a letter explaining the purpose and nature of the project and inviting them to participate. If they are willing, the general editors and the history editor will jointly communicate with the narrators regarding the narrators' rights, and jointly prepare the requisite forms and documents for use in the interview.


Communicate with the Narrators

Advise potential narrators beforehand of planned and potential outcomes, including digital distribution and Creative Commons licensing. Explain the narrators’ rights during the interview and throughout the review process, including:

  • The narrator owns the interview as an original work of authorship.
  • The narrator may refuse to answer any questions or discuss certain topics.
  • The narrator may withdraw from the project at any time.
  • The narrator will be given the opportunity to review and edit the transcript.
  • The narrator may restrict use in various ways, which will be specified in the deed of gift

Prepare forms and documents for the Interview

  1. Prepare a biographical data form, send it to the narrator to complete and return.
  2. Prepare a potential topic list; send it to the narrator for input and response.
  3. Prepare the Interview data form, to be completed on the date of the interview.
  4. Prepare the Deed of Gift, to be completed on the date of the interview.
  5. Prepare the Image donation form, to be completed on the date of the interview.
  6. Plan the Interview questions, using the sample questions on the Project Description as a template. Customize them to reflect the unique story of your narrator. Remember, oral history interviews differ from other forms of interviews in being open-ended rather than highly-structured. The role of the interviewer is to become as transparent as possible, to enable the narrator's own story to emerge.