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VOCES Oral History Project

  
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FAQ

General Questions

What if someone isn't around to interview anymore?

About Interviews

Using Material from our Project


General Questions

Q: Is this Project still collecting interviews?


A: Yes, we are committed to accepting interviews of Latinos and Latinas (or non-Latinos who are relevant to the Latino and Latina experience) of the WWII generation for several more years.

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Q: Who is a good candidate?


A: Latinos and Latinas who were young adults during the WWII era, generally those born in 1925 and earlier.

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What if someone isn’t around to interview anymore?

Q: I know of someone who had a great story, but he/she is deceased. Is there any way to include their story in these archives?


A: Yes, you may provide us with information – including discharge papers, if appropriate, photos, a summary of that person’s life and experiences, and any other supporting information — about that person, and it will be included in the collection as a Tribute, not an interview. Please see section under Oral History Training for instructions on putting together Tribute information.

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About Interviews

Q: I know a person who has great childhood memories and had an interesting life, but he was not in the military during WWII. Is he still eligible?


A: Our project’s goal is to document the lives of Latinos and Latinas of the WWII generation, whether or not they were in the military. In fact, we believe it is important to capture the breadth of the wartime experience, both on the homefront and on the battlefield. So, yes, please do interview that WWII civilian!

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Q: I would like to interview a man who did serve in WWII, and apparently saw lots of action, but he doesn’t want to discuss his wartime memories. What to do?


A: Each person’s story is his or her own and we don’t "force" anyone to discuss issues or memories they don’t care to share. We have some people who wish to talk about nothing but the war experience and others who will talk about anything but the wartime experience. We respect each interview subject’s wishes.

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Q: How can I get someone interviewed?


A: In a few cases, we have dependable volunteers in geographic areas who can conduct an interview. Most of the time it is advisable for family members or close friends to conduct the interview. If you don’t have a video camera, or you would like to arrange to get someone else to videotape the interview, we may have a person who can be hired for a minimal amount (usually between $50 and $100 for a student videographer). Please see section under Oral History Training for instructions on conducting interviews.

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Q. Can’t we get you to do the interview?


A. Sometimes. But our resources do not allow a great deal of flexibility in that regard, and, as time is of the essence, we advise you to use our guidelines to conduct an interview yourself. We can help you line up a good videographer in your geographic area, who might be willing to videotape an interview, for a fee, which you pay directly to the videographer. Fees are from $50 and upwards. If you would like for us to send someone out from our office to conduct the interview, we generally require travel expenses.

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Q: What is a good age to be an interviewer?


A: Our interviewers range in age from upper-division undergraduate students, to WWII veterans who conduct interviews of their friends. We do not advise trying to get interviewers younger than college age. However, we have had excellent results from having teenagers run video cameras for an older interviewer.

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Q: May I get a copy of a specific interview for my own use?


A: At this time, copies of tapes are only provided to interview subjects or family members who have been designated by the interview subjects. They may request multiple copies.

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Q: The pre-interview form has many very personal questions, some of them about family members. What is the purpose of that form? And aren’t there privacy issues?


A: The pre-interview form provides details that may not be included in the interview, so it is an important part of the interview subject’s file. Having that form filled out has made it far easier for our students to write stories about the interview subjects. However, there are privacy issues. That form is not available for public view unless the project has the specific signed approval to that effect from the interview subject.

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Q. I understand that having a veteran’s discharge papers provide many details (date and place of birth, rank, medals, assignments, date of induction and date of discharge). If I want to get a veteran’s discharge papers, how do I go about it?


A: If you are the veteran and these are your records, or you are the next-of-kin, you may contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Their own FAQ give good instructions on doing so. Please go to: https://iris.va.gov/scripts/iris.cfg/php.exe/enduser/std_alp.php

If you are neither the veteran in question nor a next-of-kin, go to http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/public/general-public.html

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Q. When will the archives be available at the Benson Latin American Collection?


The migration of the materials – recorded interviews, file folders on both interview subjects and tributes and any related materials – began in November 2005. Recorded interviews are transferred as quickly as they are digitized by the General Libraries, a process which began in the fall of 2006. The complete transfer is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2010, with the hope that it may be much sooner than that, as funds for preliminary processing become available.

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Q. How will I be able to know if the materials are at the Benson?


A. You may see the "finding aid" at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/utlac/00129/lac-00129.html

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Q. Why aren’t the actual videotaped, or audio-taped interviews posted on your Web site?


A. It is a matter we think about. But before we do that, we will get specific permissions to that effect from the interview subject or his/her next-of-kin. The men and women we interview may not all understand that their interview – their likeness and their voice – would be available throughout the world, so there ethical considerations. An option is to have excerpts from those interviews on our Web site.

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Q. Where are the transcripts for these interviews? That would make it much easier to use.


A. The cost of transcribing is prohibitive for our project. It costs around $240 to transcribe a 2-hour interview. Instead, we have been steadily indexing the interviews; this costs around $40 for a 2-hour interview. The costs are directly related to the labor involved.

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Using Material from Our Project

Q. I would like to use photographs and/or other material from your archive in my own work, is that possible?


A. Yes, we have an extensive photo archive; our photographs, copyrighted by our project, have appeared in many exhibits (such as the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles, the Air Force History and Museums Program, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s office in Minneapolis), books and articles (please see Press Section).

We charge a fee for use. The amount that is generated from the use of our photos pays for the work of students who work on the project, as well as supplies needed to carry out our work. But to the extent that we can provide material to other institutions and publications, we are glad to do so, as we wish to get as much circulation of these stories and materials as possible. Please contact our office (512.471.1924) for details and to better address your needs.

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Q. How can I get your staff to do some digging for me, within your archives?


A. We are glad to conduct some preliminary additional research for you, within certain parameters. We do require a fee of $15 per hour, plus any expenses incurred (postage, copying, etc.). Please call our office for details.

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