Oral History Access Policy


June 7, 2024


The Zoryan Institute is a privately funded, non-profit organization. Among its primary responsibilities are to preserve its archival materials as a national trust, and to conduct original research as per its mission statement.

Mission Statement: Zoryan Institute’s core concept is to serve the cause of scholarship and public awareness relating to issues of universal human rights, genocide, and diaspora-homeland relations.

Who May Access the Oral History Materials?

As per its mission statement, “The Institute makes its collections and analyses available and provides research assistance to scholars, writers, journalists, film-makers, government agencies and other organizations” to promote awareness on gross-violations of Human Rights and genocide.

The Oral Histories are held in trust by the Zoryan Institute to preserve information. Due to the sensitive and personal nature of the Oral Histories, access will be granted for authorized research and educational use only at the Institute.

The Institute’s policy is not to make personal copies to anyone. However, copies may be available to direct descendants of the interviewee at a charge.

Gaining Access

1. All Oral History DVDs will be kept under lock and key at all times, except when an item is being retrieved or returned.

2. The Oral History coordinator will have EXCLUSIVE access to the key.

3. Interested patrons must call or write to request access and make an appointment before visiting the archives or library. Unscheduled drop-ins are not allowed.

4. For students and scholars who wish to visit the Institute to conduct research, an authorized staff member shall conduct a reference interview on the phone, to ascertain the identity of the requester, the purpose of accessing the material, and what information is being sought.

5. The applicant must then complete a form giving such details as name, address, phone number, identification (see next bullet) and research interest. All requests to use any of the Zoryan Institute’s library, archival and oral history materials must be made in writing, stating the following information, by letter, fax or email:

a) name and full contact information;
b) purpose of their request; and
c) what information or materials they are looking for.

6. The staff member shall take this opportunity to explain the security procedures in place.

Working with the Materials

1. Upon arrival, the patron shall provide two pieces of identification, at least one bearing a photo of the researcher, and one displaying the address. If no photo ID is available, two recent utility bills can suffice. If the visitors’ residence is outside Canada, and in the case of Zoryan Institute’s US office, outside the United States, then a passport may be required.

2. All coats, bags, briefcases, boxes, zipper binders, pencil cases, laptop cases, or any other storage materials belonging to the patron will be stored away by authorized staff.

3. Oral History interviews must be consulted on the premises. The individual shall be supervised, and Oral History archival materials are not available for lending.

4. Eating and drinking in the library or the designated research room are prohibited.

5. Researchers may use either a laptop computer or pencil and paper to take notes. All other utensils and materials, including pens, hi-lighters, scissors, glue, whiteout, cameras, tape recorders or other recording devices are prohibited.

6. Staff will provide only one Oral History interview to the researcher at a time.

7. Underlining, marking or otherwise defacing Oral History archival material is prohibited.

8. The OH coordinator must fill the Video Library Sign-Out Sheet with the researcher’s name, DVD Number, Time Out, Time In, and Date. The researcher must sign his or her name in the signature box.

9. Permission to publish an Oral History interview, in any medium or format, in whole or in part, is limited by the terms of the Copyright Agreement, which must be signed by both the person requesting a copy of the Oral History interview and a witness, who may be any authorized employee of the Zoryan Institute.  

Ordering Copies of Oral Histories:

Only authorized staff can make reproductions of Oral History interviews and archives, as per the guidelines set below.

Since the taping of the interviews in the early 1980s, the Institute continues to invest a portion of its annual expenditure in storing, preserving and maintaining the quality of the collection. As of this writing, the charge is $450.00 (US funds for Americans, Canadian funds for Canadians) per oral history delivered, plus shipping, payable in advance with the documentation required.

A) Relatives

1.  A copy of an Oral History interview may be requested by the immediate family or a direct descendant of the interviewee, i.e., husband or wife, brother or sister, son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, great-grandson or great-granddaughter.

2.  Before the material can be delivered, the relative must provide one of the following to verify their identity:

a)  A copy of the interview certificate sent by the Zoryan Institute to the original interviewee.
b)  A letter from a member of the Armenian clergy attesting to the fact that the requester is an immediate family or a direct descendant of the interviewee.
c)  A signed, notarized statement attesting to the fact that the requester is an immediate family or a direct descendant of the interviewee.
d)  A Copyright Agreement, signed by both the person requesting a copy of the Oral History interview and a witness, who may be any authorized employee of the Zoryan Institute.

Please note that this policy is subject to change without notice.