It is possible, simply by drawing the interviewers together and taking their reactions, to get an impression of the progress that has been achieved at various stages of the recording programme. However, for the effective monitoring of the project more systematic aids should be introduced. These are needed because the creation of oral history recordings usually far outstrips that of processing the recorded interviews. Cataloguing, indexing and transcribing generally lag so far behind recording that the customary aids which give access to the material are not available when they would be most useful for project control.

As an intermediate means of registering the project information as it is being recorded, simple visual aids can be designed which are appropriate to the work which is being carried out. In the case of the lower deck project the chart reproduced opposite was useful as such a tool. When projects are geared to preparatory research papers and control charts of the kind reproduced [under Documentation, next section] oral history recording can be effectively monitored and sensibly controlled. At the beginning of the project, the research paper represents the academic definition of the project goals. By careful application in the field academic prescription and practical possibility can begin to be reconciled. Thus, in the light of early interviewing experience, the list can be altered after some initial application. Certain questions may be modified, some removed or new questions may be introduced into the initial scheme, until a more refined and useful document emerges. Sensible alterations to the scope of a project cannot be made without a systematic approach of the kind that is implied in the formulation of a project paper.

As recording progresses, a chart of the information being collected permits the monitoring of the project's interim results. The value of the original topics - and their various divisions - should not be treated as inviolate until the work has run its full course. A common experience is that the collection of information in some subject areas reaches a point of saturation before many of the others. Such lines of questioning may be discontinued when there is reasonable certainty that their continuation would be unlikely to add significantly to the information that has already been recorded. The converse is also facilitated by a framework which permits the interim analysis of results. That is to say, areas in which the collection of information has proceeded less satisfactorily can more easily be singled out for greater attention.

Devices of the kind described above are usually essential in the effective management of oral history research. Unless the resources of the collecting centre are untypically lavish, there is usually no other means by which it can be established that the interviewing and recording is achieving the results which were originally sought. It is obviously necessary, through such methods, to be able to control the course of the project and to judge when it may be terminated.