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Editing Practices

In preparing interview transcripts for publication, the editors sought to balance several priorities:

  • As a primary rule, the editors aimed for fidelity to the spoken word and the conversational style in accord with generally accepted oral history practices.
  • The editors made minor editorial changes to the transcripts in instances where they believed such changes would make interviews more accessible to readers. For instance, excessive false starts and filler words were removed when they did not materially affect the meaning of the ideas expressed by the narrator.
  • In accord with standard oral history practices, narrators were allowed to review their transcripts, although they were encouraged to avoid making substantial editorial revisions and deletions that would change the conversational style of the transcripts or the ideas expressed therein.
  • The editors welcomed additional notes, comments, or written observations that the interviewees wished to insert into the record.
  • Copy-editing of the transcripts was based on the standards set forth in The Chicago Manual of Style.

There are many published works which address editing practices and standards in the field of oral history. For the most part, the editors relied on the following sources to develop their editorial policies:

  • "Oral History Evaluation Guidelines" of the Oral History Association: http://omega.dickinson.edu/organizations/oha/pub_eg.html#Principles and Standards
  • Donald A. Ritchie, Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide, 2nd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003)
  • Barbara Sommer and Mary Kay Quinlin, Oral History Manual (New York: Alta Mira Press, 2002)