December 2014 PSN: Indicating editing

Indicating Editing

Wednesday, December 10th

1:00 - 2:15pm EST

There is a max of 8 spots available for this PSN Video Chat. To participate, register via EventBrite using the button below. We ask participants to make a sliding scale donation of $3-$10 to reserve your spot. Groundswell members participate for free.  Click here to join Groundswell and get your PSN "promo" code.

Eventbrite - PSN Video Chat: Indicating Editing


  • Amy Starecheski, Associate Director, Columbia Oral History MA Program; Member, Groundswell PSN Working Group
  • Sara Sinclair, Program Manager, Robert Rauschenberg Oral History Project, Columbia Center for Oral History Research

As oral historians continue to develop their collective audio editing skills and editing audio at the request of a narrator has become feasible for many, an issue has arisen for which there seems to be no standard in the field. Should we show where an interviewee has edited a transcript or audio tape? If so, how? If not, why not? What if they have deleted content? What if the content is only closed for a period of time? Do we treat this differently from a permanent deletion? 

This question raises questions central to the field of oral history in new ways. How do we balance the privacy and authority of the narrator with the researcher’s desire to know everything possible about how the document was created? Who keeps the unedited drafts of oral history tapes and transcripts, and why? If oral history is a primary source document, what part of the complex, drawn-out, intersubjective process becomes a source, and what becomes a secret? This topic also brings up a fundamental question that is especially relevant when doing oral history with communities that have been historically marginalized and oppressed: To whom are oral historians accountable and how do we balance multiple "accountabilities"?