The RFE/RL collections are available and open for research. The materials were originally divided by RFE/RL into two functional categories; for ease of research and processing, we divided them into two formal collections: the RFE/RL Corporate Records and the RFE/RL Broadcast Records. When ordering materials, researchers must indicate which collection they would like, as the box numbering system is duplicative.
Generally, the corporate records relate to the administrative functioning and structure of the organization and its departments, including public affairs and audience research; the RFE/RL recorded sound archives include program reviews, recordings of board meetings, and other corporate events. The broadcast records contain materials intended for broadcast or related to the language services and broadcast departments, including scripts, editors’ files of research materials, papers and programs collected or produced by individual employees of the services, and the RFE/RL recorded sound archives. The broadcast records also contain the news budget, audiotapes and scripts of the News and Current Affairs Department, and the Daily Broadcast Analyses series, which consists of summaries of the day's programming in English for all the language services beginning in 1974 (1977 for Radio Liberty).
Both collections are open and available for research, but access to some materials is limited while they undergo processing. In addition, a significant portion of the broadcast records is now housed off-site, requiring advance notice for use. Please contact RFE/RL project archivist Anatol Shmelev before visiting the archives to determine current availability.
The sound recordings in the two collections—more than 100,000 reel-to-reel, cassette, cartridge, VHS, and DDS tapes, as well as roughly a hundred phonograph discs—are fragile, often unique documents and consequently subject to limited availability in that a digital surrogate copy must be available prior to audition. Tens of thousands of these have already been transferred to a digital format, including the entire Armenian, Hungarian, and Polish services. The Polish service, which is available via Polish Radio, covers the period from 1954 to 1994. Much of the Czechoslovak service has been digitized and is available from the Czechoslovak Documentation Center at the National Museum, and recordings of the Hungarian service are available at the National Szechenyi Library. Copies of recordings not yet digitized may be ordered. For further information or to inquire about specific recordings, please contact Brandon Burke before visiting the archives regarding access to RFE/RL audio recordings.
RFE/RL, Inc., retains all copyright rights in the broadcast archives, corporate and other records, and historical materials that it has donated to the Hoover Institution; however, some of the documents and other historical materials in the RFE/RL collection are in the public domain and thus may be reproduced and used. Other parties may own copyright rights in certain other materials in the collection; those materials may be used only with the permission of the copyright holder.
The Hoover Institution issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. The status of copyright rights in a particular document or other material must be ascertained on a case-by-case basis, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding creation of the work, including the year it was created, the location of its creation, whether it was published, and so forth. Although copyright laws are under constant redefinition in the courts, it is the responsibility of the researcher to use copyrighted materials properly. The staff cannot answer queries regarding the use of copyrighted materials, unless the materials in question clearly are in the public domain.
RFE/RL Collection Staff
Brandon Burke, Associate Archivist, Recorded Sound
Tel: (650) 724-9711