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Archives and Special Collections

Guide to resources in Archives and Special Collections at the University of Strathclyde

Introduction

The Scottish Oral History Centre Archive is an extensive collection of oral history recordings focussing on the history of work, occupational health and the social impact of de-industrialisation. Most of the recordings originate from projects carried out by Scottish Oral History Centre staff and students but there are also large collections of interviews originating from other organisations, for example Glasgow Museums and the Scottish Working People’s History Trust.

Accessing collections

Our online archive catalogue lists the various oral history projects within the Scottish Oral History Centre Archive. You can browse the links to catalogue descriptions of specific projects, or browse descriptions by themes, or ‘subject access points’.

Entries for projects that are fully processed and catalogued will include descriptions for each individual interview within the project. Otherwise, there will be a general catalogue entry describing the entire project, with individual interview descriptions to be added later. A few oral history interviews are available directly via their catalogue entry, but most are not available directly on the online catalogue. Please get in touch with us and we can arrange access for you.

Access conditions may vary from interview to interview, depending on legal and ethical considerations. We must protect the identity of any interviewee who wished to remain anonymous, for example, and must also protect the personal information of third parties who may be discussed in the course of an interview. Where such restrictions apply, this is noted in the relevant catalogue description. Access to an oral history project may also be restricted if the project is not yet fully processed and catalogued. In this case, please contact us to request access, but bear in mind that it may take some time to arrange (see the section on this page regarding timescales for the processing of collections).

Depositing your project

Archives and Special Collections at the University of Strathclyde is the place of deposit for oral history projects carried out by students and staff of the Scottish Oral History Centre (SOHC). We may also agree to preserve oral history projects completed by researchers who are not SOHC students or staff if they fall within our collection remit. This is outlined in the Archives and Special Collections collection policy.

If you are embarking upon an oral history project and would ultimately like to preserve your interview recordings in Archives and Special Collections, we recommend that you contact the staff of the Scottish Oral History Centre in the first instance. They can provide general advice on getting started, as well as more specific advice on planning your project, good interviewing techniques, recording equipment, interview practice, transcription and summarising, ethics, copyright, data protection (GDPR) and legal issues.

Please look out for the standard recording agreement form and participant information sheet templates on the Scottish Oral History Centre website. Using these in your project should ensure that participants are fully aware of all the potential future uses of their interview and can specify whether they are happy for their interview to be preserved and accessed by researchers. If you need advice on tailoring the standard forms for specific uses or creating new forms, please speak to the Library’s Copyright and Licensing Compliance team (ictlegalcompliance@strath.ac.uk).

To deposit your finished project with us, we will require the following:

  • Consent forms
  • Recording agreement forms
  • Participant information sheet
  • Any other project documentation, such as gift agreements to record the gift of photographs or other documents from a participant to the researcher
  • Articles or other publications about the project
  • Interview recordings (in wav format)
    (NB wav format is the best format for preservation. We can accept mp3 files if no other format is available, but wav is always preferable.)
  • Interview transcripts and/or time-coded summaries, if possible
    (NB when creating transcripts, it is best to transcribe each interview in its entirety. Please do not leave out sensitive personal information when preparing a transcript, as this can easily be redacted by Archives staff if necessary. However, if you do decide to leave out sensitive information you must make this clear in the project documentation, to avoid the risk of Archives staff inadvertently making sensitive personal data in the recordings accessible.)
  • Any documentation regarding safeguarding or checks for sensitive information within the interviews
  • Any other documents or photographs that the participants give to the researcher

When you are ready to deposit your collection, please contact us. We will get back to you and let you know how to transfer the files to us. Files are usually transferred via the University of Strathclyde’s file sharing software OneDrive, or from physical storage such as USB drives or hard drives.

Once we receive your collection, it will be accessioned, and the files will be ingested into our digital preservation system to ensure their long-term survival. The collection will ultimately be added to our online catalogue for discovery by researchers. Please see the note on this page regarding timescales for the processing of your collection.

Timescales for the processing of collections

Please bear with us whilst we process our oral history collections to make them accessible to researchers. We are a small team, and each stage of processing, from ingestion through to checking data sensitivity and cataloguing, takes a considerable amount of time. We also receive many new collections every year. It may therefore take us some months or, in the case of large or complex collections, several years to make them fully available on our online catalogue.

Thank you for your patience.

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