Oral History Workshop – 13

Observing Rules of Editing

Shahed Yazdan
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


The oral history website is going to provide the educational materials of some oral history workshops to the audience in written form. The present series has been prepared using the materials of one of these workshops. As you will see, many of the provided contents are not original or less said contents, but we have tried to provide categorized contents so that they can be used more.




Observing rules of editing in compilation

An important point in editing is to follow the writing rules and editing principles by the editor. The most dangerous thing in compilation is when a compiler neglects to do his or her job editorially, thinking that the book will be edited later by the editor. This thinking means that the compiler attaches no value for his or her work.

The editor must be so confident in his or her work that the editor cannot change the text after the work is delivered.


The compiler must act in such a way that after the text is prepared, no one dares to move even a single word from it.


Verification in compiling

As mentioned earlier, verification is neither possible nor necessary everywhere; however, when compiling the narrator's memoirs, it should be noted that the oral history historian is not just a tape recorder that accepts everything is said by the narrator without verification and puts it on paper.

When we read the narrator's words as compilers, we agree with a part of it; but we will discuss with the narrator about another part of the conversation that we do not agree with. In some of these cases, one of the two parties will be satisfied and the issue will be resolved.

But there is another part of the conversation that both sides are not willing to change. Here, as compilers, we must find documents from other sources to determine the correct content through them.

After this stage, there may be another part of the conversation in which there is a difference of opinion. If these items contain deviations, insults, etc., these parts should be removed in coordination with the publisher; because this is the responsibility of the compiler and he or she should not accept this case in any way in terms of Sharia, custom and law.

But if these cases do not contain insults and defamation, etc., the compiler should explain in the footnote that this matter was stated by the narrator, but there are other narrations in this regard, including in a certain source it has been written like this.

It happens very rarely that after discussing with the narrator, finding the documents and separating the cases that contain deviation, insult, etc., there is still a difference of opinion, but even so, if there is a case, it is necessary to mention it in the footnote. It should be explained with short sentences and authentic sources so that the reader realizes that the compiler was not indifferent to the text.

It is a scientific gesture, especially in works abroad, it is very common for the compiler or editor to believe that a sentence is wrong, but because the text belongs to the narrator and he or she does not want to interfere with it, he explains in a footnote that this narration is narrated in a different way in another source or sources.



As mentioned earlier, the compiler should not allow anything to be published that contains deviations, insults, profanity, lies, and the like. Even if this issue is not observed by others, we as compilers of a professional work should not write lies or cause slander to an individual. Even if this work ends up at the cost of not publishing the work, it should be insisted on.

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