Vademecum for the Treatment of Oral Sources

This document contains a summary of useful information for those who work with oral sources as researchers, archivists, librarians and documentalists. It is the result of a collective effort that involved representatives of the university, public administration and scientific associations of reference in Italy. It arises from the acknowledgment that many oral archives produced in the past require an urgent safeguard action to prevent their irreversible deterioration. It aims to inform and sensitize researchers on the importance of properly preserving and archiving their oral sources, as a prerequisite for the possibility of enhancing them and making them available to both the subjects who participated in the research and other future scholars. It offers archivists, librarians and, more generally, conservators of oral archives some basic information and references to better carry out their work. It continues and relaunches a tradition of intergenerational and interdisciplinary scientific comparison and exchange of good practices between the main subjects and institutions that deal with oral sources in Italy.
The Vademecum consists of three documents and their related appendices.
  1. Production and description of oral sources => how to set up a data sheet for oral sources and how to describe an oral archive.
  2. Conservation of oral archives => how to proceed to safeguard the oral sources recorded in the past decades, in consideration of their peculiar fragility.
  3. Enhancement, use and reuse of oral sources => the regulatory framework to keep in mind before starting a search with oral sources and indications on where to deposit oral archives and how to make them accessible to others.
  • List of centers specialized in the digitization of sound documents.
  • List of centers for the conservation of oral archives in Italy.
  • Reference models for information and consent pursuant to GDPR.
  • Models of deeds of donation and testamentary legacy.
  • Models of deposit and loan agreements for the transfer of an oral archive.
  • Examples of reuse of oral archives from the past.
  • Instructions for acquiring audio and audio-video documents.
  • Detection card template.
  • Bibliography and Sitography.
Working Groups
The following groups participated in the works, coordinated by Silvia Calamai (University of Siena - AISV), Alessandro Casellato (Ca 'Foscari University of Venice - AISO) and Maria Francesca Stamuli (Archival and Bibliographic Superintendence of Tuscany):
  • 'Conservation of Oral Archives' Group: Alessandro Casellato (Italian Association of Oral History, Ca' Foscari University Venice), Giovanni Contini (Italian Association of Oral History), Luciano D'Aleo (Central Institute for Sound and Audiovisual Heritage), Duccio Piccardi (Italian Association of Voice Sciences, University of Siena), Niccolò Pretto (Center for Computational Sonology, University of Padua), Elisa Salvalaggio (Parri Institute, Piedmontese Institute for the History of Resistance and Contemporary Society).
  • 'Production and Description of Oral Sources' Group: Piero Cavallari (Central Institute for Sound and Audiovisual Heritage), Antonella Fischetti (Central Institute for Sound and Audiovisual Heritage), Antonella Mulè (General Directorate of Archives), Elena Musumeci (Central Institute for the Catalogue and Documentation), Pasquale Orsini (Central Institute for Archives), Diego Robotti (Archival and Bibliographic Superintendence of Piedmont and Val d'Aosta), Alessandro Russo (Center for Computational Sonology, University of Padua), Carla Scognamiglio (Central Institute for the Single Catalogue), Maria Francesca Stamuli (Archival and Bibliographic Superintendence of Tuscany).
  • 'Enhancement, Use and Reuse of Oral Sources' Group: Silvia Calamai (Italian Association of Speech Sciences, University of Siena, CLARIN-IT), Silvia Filippin (General Directorate Archives), Sabina Magrini (Central Institute for Sound and Audiovisual Heritage, Archival and Bibliographic Superintendence of Tuscany), Monica Monachini (Institute of Computational Linguistics "Antonio Zampolli", National Research Council of Italy, CLARIN-IT), Giulia Piperno (Institute for Sound and Audiovisual Heritage), Niccolò Pretto (Institute of Computational Linguistics “Antonio Zampolli”, National Research Council of Italy), Micaela Procaccia (Italian Archival National Association), Sara Zanisi (ISEC Foundation - Parri Network).
The AAs thank: Archive of Ethnography and Social History of the Lombardy Region, Giulia Barrera, Agostina Lavagnino.
Dates and Questionnaire
The works started on 20th May 2019.
This document was approved by the working groups on 29th September 2020 and was publicly presented on 27th October 2020 during the Online Seminar 'Not Just Paper - Taking Care of Oral Archives'.
It was closed to comments and proposals (which could be sent by answering the Questionnaire 'Feedback on the Vademecum') after 15th January 2021.
It will be approved and published in its final version in the course of 2021.

Vademecum @ CLARIN Café on Oral Archives

Presentation of the Vademecum for the Treatment of Oral Sources at the CLARIN Café - How Not to Spill Coffee on Your Tapes. Best Practices for Preserving Oral Archives (24/02/2021)