Myriam Fellous-Sigrist (KCL) - 2017-18 Students

Private yet public: addressing the ethical, legal and curatorial issues of digital oral history

Digital technologies enhance the visibility and use of historical archives, yet they also trigger new dilemmas. Projects producing audiovisual archives such as oral history recordings have to reconcile competing expectations: transparency of publicly-funded research, open access to information, use of the latest technologies for dissemination, respect of copyright, the need for confidentiality and for participants’ informed consent. Conflicting demands are voiced by stakeholders inside and outside projects: creators, curators, funders, host institutions and archive users.

My research investigates and seeks to alleviate some of the difficulties thus created. My work is grounded in interpretative approaches developed in digital humanities to assess the novelty of dilemmas caused by digital technologies, and their impact on the knowledge created, controlled and accessed by researchers. Using a historical and comparative methodology, my project aims to identify the scope of tensions, to assess any changes in the digital context and to map the strategies developed by stakeholders.

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