The Autonomous Oral History Group hosts a rotation of archivists who use AOHG’s collection to reappraise inventoried items in order to decenter the institution in the process of accountability. The group meets regularly to discuss how to maintain ethical ties between researchers and interviewees that build mutual aid, emphasize societal embeddedness, and social responsibility.
Appraisal typically occurs once in a recorded item’s lifespan. However, AOHG’s appraisal policy is re-drafted as best practices evolve, the collection grows, custodial responsibilities change, community upheaval occurs, and as technology advances. The Ethics Board scrutinizes the collection in the hope that it will ensure its broader relevance and transparency as a resource.
The Autonomous Oral History Group is not merely conceived as a repository of knowledge; it is also a platform to debate how information is valued. Oral history research plays a central role in holding an archive open as a question with the explicit aim to restructure hierarchies of knowledge production. This objective requires not only that archivists constantly question what an archive is but also how it serves knowledge’s preservation. The AOHG pursues this question along to axes: by reacquisition and case study research.