The J.R.R. Tolkien Fandom Oral History Collection - FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Back to main collection page.

How do I schedule an interview?

If you are unable to visit Milwaukee or prefer to give your interview via Zoom videoconferencing, please visit the scheduling site to claim a time slot. You will receive an email within a few days containing a link to join the meeting at your scheduled time. Please note that all times are expressed as U.S. Central Time. Please plan for any time difference.

If you are able to visit Marquette University to contribute in person, please contact to schedule an interview.

The curator of the Tolkien Manuscripts will be collecting interviews in person at selected Tolkien-related events. Please email with any questions about these opportunities.

Anything else I need to do to join the Host?

All contributors must sign a donor agreement form gifting the interview to Marquette University. For in-person interviews, the form will be signed at the time of the interview. For Zoom interviews, the donors will be sent the donor agreement form in advance with the Zoom link. All contributors must sign and return the form in order to join the Host.

What will happen when I give the interview?

The interviewer will record only the three minutes devoted to the interview itself. Only the audio is recorded. The interviewer will not make any comments, but will use a timer to silently cue the fan when the three minutes are nearing their end. Each fan is asked to begin by stating name, age, and place of origin. Then, in whatever way the fan feels appropriate, he/she addresses the following three questions: (1) When did you first encounter the works of J.R.R. Tolkien? (2) Why are you a Tolkien fan? (3) What has he meant to you? All interviews end at the three-minute mark.

Why only three minutes?

Three reasons. It compels the fan to be succinct and not to ramble. It allows time for more interviews. It encourages fans to share only what is most important to them.

The strongest interviews seem to be those where the donors have spent time in advance thinking  through their interview responses.. Some fans have even written out their responses ahead of time, although this is not essential. 

Do I have to use all three minutes?

No. Use as little or as much of the three minutes as you need.

Do I have to be a *really* big Tolkien fan?

Tolkien fans exhibit a wide range of interest and passion. As long as you honestly self-identify as a Tolkien fan, you are welcome to share your testimony and join the Host. We do not screen interested parties to determine if they meet a particular threshold of fannishness!

How old do I have to be to contribute?

You can be any age to contribute; however, for donors under 18, all access to their interviews will be restricted until the year of their eighteenth birthday. A parent or guardian must sign the donor agreement form on behalf of any interviewee under 18 years of age..

What will happen to my interview?

Your interview will be transcribed. The sound recording and transcription will be made available in a digital collection on the department's website. Visitors will be able to listen to the interviews and keyword search across the transcripts. The sound recordings will not be downloadable; however, the transcript text and metadata will be made available as a dataset for scholarly analysis.

What if I don’t want my name to be made public?

Fans have the option of choosing whether to have their name associated with their interview in the digital collection. There is a question to that effect on the donor agreement form.

When will my interview be available online?

The interviews will be grouped into éoreds of 120 interviews. As each éored is filled, it will be added to the DIGITAL COLLECTION in a kind of ongoing muster. Once the 50th éored is added, the host will be complete!