I have been asked to write about my experience of reading Information Items in the RFE Collection’s Polish Unit in OSA, and I would like to discuss the biggest difficulty I encountered in the process; a feature of the documents which can playfully be called reversed jamming or distorted polyphony. Without being long-winded about my particular research aims, I was trying to learn something about students in 1970s Poland from the items produced specifically about students. Why was that so hard? The Items are documents produced from casual conversations between an RFE analyst and ‘the source.’ The source is often enigmatic; sometimes it is an unidentified respondent who claims to know the attitudes of youth, but more often it is a student from the University of Warsaw on an exchange in a Western city where RFE’s field offices were located. Direct letters from students to the editors are few and far between in the series. The typical Item begins with the formula nasz rozmowca twierdzi (the source tells us…) followed by a statement about their specific experience as a student in Poland, or their impressions from the West, their political views, and so on. Often, this precedes a variant of the formula ogolnie sie mowi w Polsce (generally, in Poland it is said/thought that…). At this point, the reader encounters polyphony. It becomes less clear who is speaking: the interviewer or the subject. In most cases, neither is presumably qualified enough in sociology to make a sweeping statement about youth opinions across the country. Is the analyst speaking through or for the source? Is the source speaking to the analyst? Often, the generalized statements about public opinion are backed by a second iteration of ‘nasz rozmowca twierdzi,’ in which case it appears that the source speaks with the analyst, without knowing it. The syntax of the finished Item leaves the reader exasperated as to whether s/he is reading the testimony of the respondent, or the stereotypes of the analyst, or the latter loosely supported by the former, or a fusion of the two.