Internet Access to Oral Recordings: Finding the Issues

Appendix A: Oral History Sites Visited

1968: The Whole World Was Watching
     Includes full audio of interviews, and full transcription or summary story of the interviews that the high school student interviewers wrote. Also has a glossary of terms, with hot links from the transcripts/stories to the term's definition. Project was created by South Kingstown, Rhode Island High School sophomores in an English class titled "Intermediate Writing." 20 students interviewed 30 Rhode Islanders about their experiences, memories, and recollections of the tumultuous events of 1968 and the 1960s in general. For example they talked to an ex-Marine, a student protestor, a POW, a draft resister, a nurse, a Reverend, a lawyer, and a helicopter pilot. The students did the interviews, transcriptions, and wrote stories about the people and their lives based on the transcripts. Linda Wood, the school's librarian and an oral historian, coordinated the project. Sharon Schmid was the English teacher. Kate Dunnigan of CCRI and Sharon Strom of the University of Rhode Island also guided the student's research and writing. Brown University's Scholarly Technology Group produced the website. They organized the information, designed the site, and copy-edited the text. The site uses streaming technology to play the full interviews in RealPlayer. David Reville was the project editor ( Site includes good background information on design and implementation of the project, but nothing about the technology. They have a link for Production Notes, but it was a dead link. I did email David about the audio technology issues.
      There is no mention of permissions for including these full interviews on the Web. I assume since these are new interviews and making a website was part of the original project design that interviewees were asked as part of the release form.


About Re: Vietnam Stories Since the War
Includes written stories, excerpts and dialogue submitted by people about Vietnam. There is no audio. Also includes an essay "Oral History Tips" by Bret Eynon, Education Director of the American Social History Project, for people who want to contribute their own stories.


AIC: Chicago Architects Oral History
For each person interviewed there is one written paragraph excerpted from their interview and a biographical statement about the interviewee. There is no audio. The full transcripts can be ordered, but are not on-line.


American Bar Foundation
Index of interviewees with links to full transcripts, short abstracts of biographical information, and summary of interview. Includes transcripts but no audio. No use or permission information is included.


American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
Material on the American Memory website. But own website does contain oral history material and copyright information. A Copyright and Restriction page is included for each specific collection.
Ethnographic Field Collections ( is a list of collections and a brief statement about what an ethnographic field collection is and how such material should be used.
Collections Available On-Line (
Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections 1937-1942 ( can listen to songs and short interview excerpts, but there are only about 24 interviews. Mostly it is songs.


American Journalism Historians Association
Choose Oral History Collections. It is a guide to oral history collections housed elsewhere that deal with journalism and journalism history. It lists collections, has collection descriptions, and lists tapes. No audio or transcripts available for any of these tapes. Includes links to other webpages, who then have transcripts available. For instance, the Women in Journalism Collection of the Washington Press Club Foundation ( which includes full transcripts, but no audio. Some interviews don't have on-line access to transcripts. They do mention copyright and permissions under the Project Description, but it is at the end of the page. (Will the average site user read that far?) There is a note on the main page that the link to the project description should be gone to first before looking at the interviews, but it is optional whether you choose to follow that suggestion. The transcripts have an index with keywords and the page number of the transcript that term appears on. It won't link to that term or the page, but tells you where to look. It does include links to names when it is the name of someone else interviewed for this project. The link puts you on the summary page of that person's interview. You don't get into the interview, just to their summary screen.


Australia's Oral History Collections: A National Directory
     A directory of collections all over Australia. You can search collections by name, subject or date. You get a list of collections that match and the information about the collection. You can only access that collection if it has been put on-line and it will show up as a hot link in your search results list. Not all collections are on-line yet. But access to the collection doesn't mean being able to listen to the recordings. It just means you get to a detailed index of the specific collections. There were no recordings here that you could listen to.
      I found a link to Australian Museums On-line, which had stories in its collections. I checked one, which turned out to be a written narrative based on an interview. It was not quotes or the whole interview, but an edited version written by someone other than the original speaker. There was no way to listen to any of the recording.
      Another link was to ABC Archives and Library Services (, which had samples from radio programs. Used Realplayer to play the sound excerpts.


Baylor University Institute for Oral History
This is an overview of the Institute, its mission, resources, projects and staff. It does not include any oral history recordings.


Behind the Veil Documenting African-American Life in the Jim Crow South
This project was based at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies. The home page provides description of the project, how the material is being used, and a newsletter, but there is no tape list or ability to access recordings.


Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College
Lists tapes in the collection. The on-line database gives a background summary information, and an outline of the tape. There are no transcripts or audio. There is an on-line exhibit titled - "As This is Our First Broadcast...Percy and Ruth Crawford and the Birth of Televangelism" ( This includes sound, video, photos and transcripts. Includes the following statement: "Notice: This exhibit is for the enjoyment and education of the users of our Website. Material in it is protected by copyright and any use, publication or copying is strictly prohibited." You can view video of the original 1949 broadcast (about 30 minutes) or selected segments (40 seconds to 7.5 minutes). One excerpt includes a transcript, too that you can follow along with. There are excerpts of interviews with audio and transcript, but not full interviews.


Black Women at Virginia Tech Oral History Project
Includes a few interviews with full transcripts. Some interviews have excerpted audio quotes and some don't have anything but a descriptive narrative. There is no mention of permissions or use.


Black Women's Oral History Project
Index of interviews with black women from this oral history project. No access to audio or transcripts on-line. Is a list of interviews in the collection or if the interview is in another library it's linked to that site, ie. Kennedy Library, UCLA, or Berkeley. Includes the following disclaimer: "No part of the transcripts may be photocopied or otherwise reproduced or quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of the Schlesinger Library." This was a joint project between the Schlesinger Library on the History of American Women at Radcliffe College and the Southwest Institute for Research on Women and the University of Arizona.


Bland County History Archives, Rocky Gap High School, Rocky Gap, Virginia
Transcripts of interviews by high school students. Includes some complete interviews, some excerpts, and some narratives. Access the collection by interviewee name for the most part, but also have subjects, where have historical context and interview excerpts, or a set group of subjects. There is no audio on-line and no discussion about permissions. Site done by high school History and Technology class.


Brainerd Kansas: Time, Place and Memory on the Prairie Plains
A history of the community and a sense of place seen through written material and interviews. Was a graduate student project. Listed in Oral History Association Newsletter, Spring 2000 as a website with oral history. Includes oral history quotes in the text written by the researcher, but there is no sound. Does have good context statements for the interviews, which include personal background and the interview setting.


British Library, National Sound Archive, Oral History
Contains a few audio clips of sample sound quotes and pieces of interviews, but otherwise there is only descriptive information about the oral history material in the collection, the collections and lists tapes without on-line access to them. There is nothing about copyright, use, or permissions.


Camden New Jersey Historical Society, "In Harm's Way: New York Shipbuilding in World War II"
Listed in Oral History Association Newsletter, Spring 2000 as a website with oral history, but couldn't find any oral history on the site.


Center for Oral History, University of Connecticut, Storrs
Includes catalog of interviews, special projects, and links to other oral history websites, but there are no sound files or transcripts. Does include the following statement: "Unless otherwise indicated, both tapes and transcripts are available to researchers. In instances where the interviewee's agreement to use is not clear, copy or quotation by researchers may be restricted."


Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi Oral History Program
Has lists of collections and tapes, but nothing is linked to access the material. Researchers are allowed to listen to tapes, but they can't quote from them. Must quote from the transcript because it has been reviewed and approved by the interviewee. The Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archives is where you have access to full transcripts on-line, but there is no audio. The rest of the site is just a list of items. On top of each transcript they have the following disclaimer: "It is presented here for reference purposes only. Interviews in this collection are protected by copyright and permission to publish must be requested from the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage."


Duke University, American Communities: An Oral History Approach
African American Experiences in Durham, North Carolina
Students in the American Communities seminar interviewed African American elders in Durham. They worked with staff and faculty at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies and the Center for the Study of Black History. The website includes biographies of the interviewees and interview excerpts (audio clips with associated transcript sections). There is no full interview audio, only the excerpts. The audio plays in Quicktime, so you loose the screen with the transcript once the sound begins to play. This means you can't read along as you listen. No mention of permissions?


Georgia State, Pullen Library, Georgia Government Documentation Project: Oral History Collection
Includes oral history interviews done about the history of Georgia's government. Lists collections/series and individual tape summaries, but there are no transcripts or audio available on-line.


History and Politics Out Loud (HPOL) at Northwestern University
Includes audio relevant to American history and politics. For example, speeches, Watergate, White House talks, etc. Uses RealAudio streaming for listening to the sound files. The transcribed words of the speech come up as the person is talking so you can follow along. There is no mention of permissions for putting this material on the Web, only that they can't distribute and make copies, and that they have the copyright.


History Matters, George Mason University
Choose Browse, then Many Pasts. Site is designed for students studying history in high school and for their teachers. Includes text and audio of excerpts of interviews related to ordinary people's experiences with history. Some of the oral history includes audio clips of excerpts and a transcript of that excerpt, others just have text of excerpts. There are about 144 records all together. Has search capability. No discussion about copyright/permission issues.


Holocaust Survivors
Includes excerpted audio quotes from interviews with holocaust survivors, but doesn't include the full interview. There is no discussion about permissions to put the material on the Web or about the location of the recordings.


Indiana University, Oral History Research Center
Has a list of collections with brief descriptions, but no on-line access to the information about specific tapes, to transcripts, or to any audio.


Institute of American Indian Studies, University of South Dakota, South Dakota Oral History Center
Can listen to one sample interview segment, but nothing else. They explain that transcripts are not available on-line, because they are old, handwritten documents. Transcripts are what they let researchers use and want them to quote from, not the original tape. Also mention that there is some limit to access because of sensitive material, but do not explain it more.


Japanese American National Museum: Life History Program
Provides overview of the program and lists the projects done. In the project description, they summarize the content and then give list of interviews. No access to recordings or transcripts and no mention of use permissions.


Journal for Multimedia History     Volume 1, #1
Includes essays with text, photos, and audio quotes. Good examples are "The 1939 Dairy Farmers Union Milk Strike in Heuvelton and Canton, New York: The Story in Words and Pictures" and "I Can Almost See the Lights of Home A Field Trip to Harlan County, Kentucky."


Kent State, May 4, 1970 Oral History Project
Two collections of recordings of memories and personal statements:
Oral History Project 1990
Oral History Project 1995
Both sites include a list of interviewees and links to full transcripts. There is no audio available and no mention of copyright or permission issues.


Library of Congress, American Memory
     Includes on-line exhibits and collections of manuscript, photographic, and audio material from the Library of Congress' collections. For example, Omaha Indian Music, Buckaroos in Paradise, Hispano Music and Culture from the Rio Grande, Folksongs from the California Goldrush, American Quilts, and the WPA Writers Project. Sponsored by the Library of Congress's National Digital Library program which was co-funded by NSF.
      They include a lot about copyright information. Each collection has a page with copyright disclaimer and permissions information on it, much of it being the same from collection to collection, but some being different depending upon the specific rights associated with the material. Includes standard disclaimer that link to from main page (American Memory, Copyright and Other Restrictions:, which states that as a public institution the Library of Congress does not hold copyright to the material, so it can't give or deny use permission. Explains that if the Library of Congress does not know about the material's copyright, then it is up to the user to determine copyright and gain permission to use it from the owner.
      There also is general Library of Congress legal information (Library of Congress Legal Notices: This site mentions that "computer software is used to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload, change information, damage or access non-public information. Unauthorized attempts to upload or change are strictly prohibited and punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Infrastructure Protection Act of 1993. Information regarding possible violations of the law may be provided to law enforcement officials."
      Omaha Indian Music on American Memory site ( includes music, songs, interviews, and speeches. Includes a lot of information about copyright and use restrictions, with links to other parts of the American Memory page and American Folklife Center who put this project together/or owns the material. Mentions collaboration with members of Omaha community, having done research on copyright, and need to understand ethnographic collections and be respectful of people who shared their culture. The Privacy and Publicity Rights page only mentions written material and photos, but not oral interviews. The audio on this site includes short commentaries on the songs and the music.


Library of Congress, Recorded Sound Reference Center
The Center provides access to the commercial and archival audio holdings of the Library of Congress. The site lists collections in their archive, including finding aides, but there is no access to the audio. When you click on the Digitized Recordings option, you get to American Memory's collection list and search page.


Life Histories from the Federal Writer's Project, WPA
A collection of manuscripts written by staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writer's Project for the WPA, 1936-1940. States that there is no copyright to this material because it was written by government employees. "Works created by U.S. government employees are not eligible for copyright protection. Persons interviewed or whose words were transcribed were generally not employees of the government. Privacy and publicity rights may apply." Includes a brief on-line exhibit "Voices from the Thirties: Life Histories from the Federal Writer's Project" is an introduction to the collection that includes: 13 sample interview excerpts you can listen to by clicking on a person's photo with their name and occupation underneath. Each excerpt is a sentence to short paragraph length. States on first page of this introduction that the audio is statements from interviews being read by modern actors. So aren't actually hearing the speakers. Can see the written transcripts of the audio excerpts so can follow along, but doesn't include full interviews or transcripts. Many of the manuscripts were prepared by professional writers and aren't verbatim transcripts but their narrative compiled from the interview and notes.


Michigan State University, Vincent Voice Library
They are working on creating a National Gallery of the Spoken Word ( They are working with the Library of Congress to develop standards for archiving sound "librarianship of sound." They have received a five-year, $3.6 million NSF grant to build a collection of recordings on the Internet, with 50,000 hours of interviews and with the capability to search right to a clip.


Minnesota Author Biographies, Minnesota Historical Society
This is a list of biographies of authors, including lists of their books and access to the library catalogs for them. There is no oral history here. Listed in Oral History Association Newsletter, Spring 2000 as site with pictures and sound.


National Archives of Singapore, Oral History Centre
Has a few audio samples, short quotes, but no full interviews and all the audio available is in the Native language of Hokkien.


National Library of New Zealand, Oral History Collection
Linked here from another place. Not on-line yet.


National Park Service Links to the Past --
This site is run by the Parks and History Association, a non-profit outside of the Park Service. Includes historical, cultural and educational programming related to different parks.
Park Net --
National Park Service's website.


National Public Radio, Lost and Found Sound
Includes radio programs presenting sounds. The full radio story plays when you click on it. Because this material was produced for radio broadcast already, maybe the same permissions and ethics as oral history do not cover it? There was no mention of permissions for putting these radio programs on the Web.


Naval Historical Center
Operational Archives Branch, On-Line Oral Histories, examples ( Includes transcripts of sample interviews. Can't tell if they are full interviews or excerpts, but they look like complete. One case is adapted from a published recollection/account. The site does include notice of allowable use of a government website, public domain, and unauthorized use not allowed. Mentions using tracking software.


Oral History, American Music, Yale University
Lists collections, but no links to those collections. Has short audio excerpts (quotes) and transcripts excerpts. No full audio recordings or transcripts. No mention of permissions.


Oral History Research Office, Columbia University
Lists recordings by project (interviews done for an oral history project on a specific topic or theme). Each recording is linked to a page which provides a summary of the collection or a list of names of the individuals interviewed. But there is no link from this list of names to the interview (audio or written) itself. There is no access to actual recordings on this site.


Quilts and Quiltmaking, American Memory Website
181 audio excerpts from interviews, with transcriptions of these excerpts accompanying the sound bites. Does not include whole interviews, either in audio or written. The excerpts are titled and listed in a table.


Regional History Project, University of California Santa Cruz
     Includes list of interviews with links to a page with a tape summary and photo of the interviewee. No audio on-line. Seems to be a transcript based organization, since many of the interviews seem to have been compiled into publications. Some projects include interviews with others about the person who is the main subject of the project. Some of these transcripts and transcript compilations are available on-line as downloadable PDF files, but it's a small percent of the full list. Site also includes links to historic photos from the collections, an oral history primer, oral history bibliography, and other oral history websites.
      The home page does include the following disclaimer: "Copyright Restrictions: PLEASE NOTE these interviews are provided for research purposes only. All uses of these manuscripts are covered by copyright agreement between the interviewees and the Regents of the University of California. All the literary rights in these manuscripts, including the right to publish, are reserved to the University of California, Santa Cruz. No part of these manuscripts may be quoted for publication without the permission of the University Librarian of the University of California, Santa Cruz."


Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California Berkeley
Includes list of various oral history collections, and has context information and transcripts for most of them. But, it does not include any audio. There is no statement about permissions for including these full interview transcripts. Is there any difference between posting a full interview in transcript form versus in its original audio form that would preclude the need for obtaining the same level of permission?


Reuther Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
Index of collections. Includes a page with rules for using the oral history transcripts in their collection, but no web access to the audio or the transcripts. All material must be used at their archives. Some interviews in index have relation to other institutions as there are links to places such as the JFK Library, UCLA, Bancroft Library, etc.


Rutgers University Oral History Archives of World War II
The project recorded personal experiences of men and women who served on the homefront and overseas. It includes 133 interviews. The website only includes the transcripts from the interviews, no audio.


Senate Historical Office, Oral History Project
Only includes a few interviews on-line, but where the full interview is included there is a copy of the deed of gift for that recording (the interviewee's release form) authorizing public use of the material. It doesn't specifically say Internet use, but to "best serve educational and historical objectives of the Oral History Program." The full interviews have transcripts, but no audio. Lists tapes with summaries. Keywords in the summaries, for instance people's names, terms, etc., are linked to other pages (transcripts or interviewee list) in the collection.


Smithsonian Institution Archives, Institutional History Division, Oral and Video History Collections
Lists tapes in the collection with a summary of the tape. On SIRIS page (Smithsonian Institution Research Information System) you can search the Archives and Manuscript Collection Catalog, which also includes recordings. But, it's not easy to navigate this section and know how to access interviews. It's a cumbersome search program.


Social Security Administration
     Interviews with people about the history of Social Security, its creation, the functioning of the administration, their experiences working there, etc. Is comprised of a list of interviewees with links to edited/revised full transcripts, and links to short audio excerpt. Not all interviews have audio or transcripts on-line. Most audio is about 10 minutes, but some interviews have more and some have none. They include the following: "Disclaimer: These oral histories are expressions of the views, memories and opinions of the interviewee. They do no represent the policy, views or official history of the Social Security Administration."
      Also includes a statement about Copyright Issues (see attached).
      They include audio sections on line, but include the following statement: "Listeners should be advised, however, that the audio recordings are not considered to be the official record of the interviews. The final edited and printed transcripts (reproduced above) are the only authoritative source documents. The recordings are made available only for their historical interest and should not be directly quoted or cited." (In the Altmeyer interview)


Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Includes mostly lists of collections and recordings, like an index. There are a few sound excerpts from interviews under the Exhibits option. There is no access to sound within the Interview Collections option. The Civil Rights Collection has sound, but it is just excerpts from longer recordings. A copyright statement protects the material, but it is unclear whether the statement refers to the photographs or the recordings, or both.


Stonington Fishing Oral History Project, Mystic Seaport, Mystic Connecticut
Describes project, why they did it, number of recordings, transcripts, photos, etc. There is no list of tapes or access to recordings.


Stories of the Dreaming
Australian aboriginal stories. Includes text version of traditional stories, audio version, and low/high quality video, and pop-up window with glossary of Australian indigenous words. Has permission statement explaining that aboriginal stories only can be told by certain people the storytellers--, but that the Australian Museum worked with the storytellers to have permission to include their stories on the website.


Tulane University, William Ransom Hogan Archives of New Orleans Jazz
Has an index of oral histories related to New Orleans Jazz, but no audio is available on the site. Index includes list of collections, list of people interviewed, and whether the recording has been transcribed. No way to access the transcript on-line.


UCLA Oral History Program
Lists collections/subject areas, but no audio or transcripts are available on-line.


UCSF, Department of History of Health Science
This was a UCSF campus oral history project. Site describes the project's mission and has summaries of some tapes, but there is no access to recordings on-line.


University of Delaware, Special Collections
This has an on-line finding aid for their collections, which includes an alphabetical index, subject index, and a list of transcripts without tapes. But, there is no access to the actual recordings or transcripts. It just is a list of what is in the collection.


University of Hawaii's Center for Oral History
Includes short excerpts (about a paragraph) from interviews (one excerpt from each book listed that the Center has published) and one video clip. Mostly are transcribed quotes. There is no information about permissions for putting these excerpts on the Web.


University of Kentucky Oral History Program
They are developing the on-line Oral History Projects Initiative to offer searchable, full text transcripts on the Web. Provides an on-line index/database of tapes, including accession number, summary, length, and whether a transcript is available. Offers annotated guides to collections. Only a few of the oral history projects include access to transcripts. You get to full interview transcripts by searching within a collection. The database itself just takes you to a summary of the tape. I wasn't able to find any audio itself, but the project introduction did indicate that audio, as well as full transcripts, was included in the on-line database. The only reference to rights and permissions concerns transcripts. The user is told to contact Terry Birdwhistell, Director of the University of Kentucky Oral History Program, at for permission.


University of Maryland, Broadcast Pioneers Library of American Broadcasting
Include oral histories and radio broadcasts related to history of American broadcasting. Has short audio pieces for old radio ads, but no audio from oral history recordings. Can search the database by keyword to find recordings, but only get summary of it, not actually any sound.


University of Nevada Oral History Program
Provides annotated list of recordings in their collection, but no links to audio or transcripts. Includes a list of written and audio publications to be purchased. Has a searchable index.


University of New Mexico Archives, Oral History Collection
Lists tapes with a summary of it, but there is no access to audio or transcript on-line. Does provide a clear statement of use and copyright issues and that access to tapes and transcripts is only available in person.


U.S. Department of Energy, DOE Openness, Office of Human Radiation Experiments Oral History
Includes 1 excerpt of comments about the Openness Initiative, and short video clips (10-15 minutes) that download to your harddrive. Includes a list of interviewees with a summary of the interview ( In this list, click on a person's name and you get text from a written report compiled from the interview that includes a foreword, biography, and a disclaimer that the opinions are those of the interviewee not of DOE and that DOE makes no claim of accuracy or accurate transcription. The text is linked in sections with the outline, so can get to specific sections of interview transcripts based on a particular topic.


U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Explains the collection, the types of interviews, number of interviews, and has interview guidelines publication. There is no index of interviews or access to the audio on-line. No discussion of use/copyright/permission. Can search the collection database for oral histories as you would for any material, searching by subject, collection name, accession number, etc. But when get search results, you only get a description of the interviewee and a summary of the interview.


U.S. Naval Institute Oral History Program
Four interviews are listed on this site, but only get a photo of the narrator and a summary of the interview. No audio and no transcripts are available and there's no access to the rest of the collection.


Utah State University Oral History Program's Electronic Collection
Includes list of oral histories in their collections with short audio excerpts. There are also tape introductions and transcripts. They do include a statement saying that copying or printing materials is prohibited without the written consent of the Program Director. Gives you a click option to request that permission. Also includes a statement that materials are being released solely for educational purposes and that use for commercial gain is strictly prohibited.


Voice Vision: Holocaust Survivor Oral Histories, University of Michigan, Dearborn, Mardigian Library
Includes written transcripts that are downloadable as PDF files. Look like transcripts of full interviews, but not sure. No access to audio. No mention of permissions or use restrictions.