For Contributors

Considerations in Selecting Topics

VOD publishes authenticated texts, original scholarly essays, and teaching/learning materials relating to:

  • Speakers who, by exercising their right to speak out, made a difference, worked to resolve social and political controversies in U.S. history, and/or helped shape the nation’s values and cultural identity.
  • Speeches that are well-known—the canon of “great speeches” in U.S. history—as well as lesser-known speeches and debates that are historically significant and/or rhetorically instructive.
  • Speeches and debates that illuminate not only deliberative themes and rhetorical principles, but also significant events and eras in U.S. history.
  • Speakers and speeches that address issues which continue to offer insight into contemporary controversies and problems.
  • Speakers and speeches that accentuate the contemporary relevance of America’s tradition of democratic deliberation and help the next generation acquire the practical skills and the cultural knowledge necessary for engaged citizenship.
  • Speakers and speeches that represent the diversity of issues, thoughts, and experiences of the U.S. context, past and present.

Copyright Issues in Unit Selection

  • For copyrighted speeches, VOD requires that permission be secured from the individual(s) or organization that owns the copyright before the speech can be posted on the project website.
  • Each speech text should be accompanied by an official copyright statement stating that permission has been granted to post the speech(es) on the project website.
  • VOD encourages the selection of speech texts that can be authenticated and/or that raise interesting issues of textual authentication.
  • Basic information about U.S. copyright.
  • Sample copyright permission letter.

Submission of Photographs & Audio-Visual Texts

  • When possible, authors should submit a photograph or photographs of the speaker to post on the website. If the photo is copyrighted, permission to post the photo on the VOD website must be obtained from the owner(s) of that copyright. The photo should be accompanied by a statement reflecting that permission before the photo can be posted on the VOD website.
  • When possible, authors should also submit an audio or video recording of the speech for posting on the VOD website. If the recording is copyrighted, permission to post it on the VOD website must be obtained from the owner(s) of that copyright. A statement should accompany the audio or video recording that permission has been granted to post the recording on the VOD website.