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The University of Wisconsin-Madison Oral History Project was established as part of the University History Project in 1971. Its initial charge was to interview prominent emeritus faculty members about their research and careers at the University. Over the years, the Project became a part of the UW Madison Archives, changed from a project to a program, and expanded its scope to include interviews with campus administrators, staff, and students as well as faculty. Taken individually, these interviews reflect the narrators' careers and interests; taken collectively they constitute a narrative of the development of the University over time. As such, they form an invaluable part of this University's historical record. The Oral History Program's collection–held at the UW-Madison Archives–currently encompasses over 1,900 interviews (nearly 5,000 hours of audio) touching on all aspects of the University's history. Read more about the program, including information about citing oral history interviews, at their website. Several of the program's projects have an online exhibit on their exhibits page.
Oral history interviews are protected by the 1978 copyright law. Both interviewer and narrator must sign a release before the interview may be used by anyone. Legal releases obtained by interviewers for this collection stipulate that the information in the interviews may be used for scholarly and educational purposes, but extensive segments of the interviews may not be published or used in a public presentation without the written permission of the UW-Madison Oral History Program.