OHS launches special interest groups for members

The OHS is pleased to announce the launch of special interest groups.

The groups are a response to increasing interest among OHS members for ways to develop networks and facilitate discussion and activities with others who share common interests and concerns.

We start with three special interest groups:

A group can elect its own officers and develop its own plan of work and activities: seminars, conferences, training, publications, online videos, for example. It can draw up to £250 from the funds of the society annually to support its work, and can apply to the trustees for more. With the agreement of trustees a special interest group can also establish a group membership fee and raise additional funds to support its work.

Any member or group of members of the OHS can create a special interest group by submitting a proposal to OHS secretary Rob Perks. If successful, one or more trustees will act as co-conveners and then as liaison officers linking the group and trustees. Any member of the society can join a group – simply contact the group’s conveners through the webpage on the website.

If you are interested in joining or setting up a group click here.



This guide is for people who record oral history interviews, and organisations and individuals who keep collections of oral history recordings in the four nations of the United Kingdom. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland comprise the UK and amongst them have three legal systems. However so far as the law is referred to in this document it is safe to assume that all come within the wider context of UK and European law. The Oral History Society promotes the use of oral history techniques to record the memories of those whose life stories would otherwise be lost to future generations, and encourages researchers and teachers to make use of oral history in their work.

It is essential that interviewees should have confidence and trust in interviewers, and that recordings should be available for research and other use within a legal and ethical framework which protects the interests of interviewees. The following information and guidelines are aimed at ensuring that these objectives are achieved.

Anyone involved with the creation and preservation of oral history interviews should take steps to safeguard their reputation for trustworthiness. This means ensuring that what they do is within the various UK and European laws that apply to oral history and that they have not been acting illegally. Oral historians generally speaking have a good reputation in this respect. This guidance is therefore offered as reassurance and advice to both interviewers and interviewees.

The Oral History Society believes that, while oral history work must comply with the law, legal requirements alone do not provide an adequate framework for good practice. No UK law was designed specifically to regulate oral history work; in fact no law even mentions it. Beyond legal considerations we have long held the view that oral historians should abide by a voluntary set of ethical guidelines.

For these reasons this guide covers responsibilities and obligations beyond legal requirements. Members of the Oral History Society, including those who are custodians, archivists and librarians, have agreed to abide by these guidelines.

The guidance reflects the workflow of a typical oral history interview. Much of the legal and technical detail is available not within the main guidance text but via hypertext links so that the key steps and terms can be understood and followed. There are also links to sample documents and resources.