Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

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The Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky actively collects oral history interviews concentrating on 20th and 21st century Kentucky history, and maintains a collection of over 8,000 interviews made up of over 100 projects. The Center's emphasis has been on political, Appalachian, agricultural, athletic and veterans' history. The Nunn Center for oral history is part of the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections division.


The oral history program at the University of Kentucky Libraries was begun in 1973 by Charles Atcher. The program was directed by Terry Birdwhistell, Ed.D. from 1974 until 2005,[1] followed by Jeffrey Suchanek. Since 2008, the Center has been directed by Doug Boyd, Ph.D.[2] The Center is named after former Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn. Major projects have included the Family Farm Project, the Colonel Arthur L. Kelly Veterans Oral History Project, oral history projects on University of Kentucky history, African American history in Kentucky,[3] Kentucky writers, Kentucky's medical history, the history of professional baseball, as well as more recent project featuring the Horse Industry in Kentucky, as well as on the Kentucky General Assembly.

The collection[edit]

The Nunn Center contains over 8,000 interviews featuring a variety of individuals and projects. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History has aggressively undertaken efforts to digitize its collection[4] and in 2008 launched the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) online interface that synchronizes searchable text to audio and video. This system, designed by Nunn Center director Doug Boyd (in partnership with Digital Library Services at UK) allows users to link from their search results tom the coeprresponding moments in the interview. link.[5] OHMS was featured in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education in July 2011.[6]

In October, 2011, the Nunn Center launched SPOKE, the online catalog containing records for each interview and project.[7]

Featured projects[edit]


  1. ^ "The University of Kentucky College of Education Alumni Hall of Fame". University of Kentucky College of Education. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  2. ^ The Kentucky Archivist, Spring 2008
  3. ^ Wright, George C. "Oral History and the Search for the Black Past in Kentucky" The Oral History Review, Vol. 10, (1982), pp. 73-91
  4. ^ Weig, Eric, and Kopana Terry and Kathryn Lybarger. "Large Scale Digitization of Oral History: A Case Study", D-Lib Magazine, May/June 2007, Volume 13 Number 5/6.[1]
  5. ^ U Kentucky Goes Digital with Thousands of Oral Histories By Denise Harrison, Cindy Skalsky in Campus Technology, 09/09/09 [2]
  6. ^ Wolverton, Brad. "New Tool Could Help Researchers Make Better Use of Oral Histories," The Chroncle of Higher Education, July 7, 2011 [3]
  7. ^ http://www.kentuckyoralhistory.org
  8. ^ http://www.c2ky.org
  9. ^ http://kdl.kyvl.org/cgi/b/bib/bib-idx?c=legohkuk&cc=legohkuk;page=simple
  10. ^ http://www.mc.uky.edu/medicine50/oralhistories.html
  11. ^ http://kdl.kyvl.org/cgi/b/bib/bib-idx?c=oralhistbib;cc=oralhistbib;page=simple

External links[edit]