Closure and Restrictions

Interviewees have the right to request that their interview remains confidential and is closed (or partly closed) for a period of years. They might also wish that the use of their recording is restricted to particular users or to particular uses. In essence this is a negotiated process between the interviewee and the interviewer or project. In some cases the interviewer might advise an interviewee to request closure for reasons of possible libel to avoid possible legal action, or to avoid upsetting living people. But the decision must rest with the interviewee and should be recorded in the Recording Agreement and signed by both parties. Any restrictions and closure periods should have clear end-dates and be realistically enforceable. Thus a request to deny access to, for example, ‘racist groups’ would be virtually impossible for an archivist to assess.

The British Library’s leaflet on depositing an oral history recording might be helpful.

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