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Nunn Center to Partner with Oldham County History Center


by Whitney Hale


The University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History and the Oldham County History Center announce the establishment of a formal partnership to archive, preserve and support ongoing oral history initiatives created by the Oldham County History Center in LaGrange, Ky.

The Oldham County History Center has been collecting oral histories since 2001, including interviews with veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these interviews have been transcribed and published in the Oldham County Neighborhood section of the Louisville Courier-Journal. In 2007, the Oldham County History Center began an initiative called Living Treasures, to interview people, 60 years or older, who live or have lived in Oldham County.
UK Libraries Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History is internationally recognized for its collection of more than 8,000 interviews and for creating innovative digital tools for accessing oral histories online and providing for long term digital preservation. "This is a model partnership," says Doug Boyd, Nunn Center director. "They have conducted many high quality interviews in their community and want to continue." Boyd notes, "The Nunn Center provides Oldham County the opportunity to put their interviews online using state of the art solutions, while providing the best ongoing framework with regard to the long term curation of these unique interviews."

The archival component of the partnership involves the Nunn Center accessioning 200 oral history interviews into the UK collection and digitizing the interviews for both access and preservation. 

The interviews will be prepared for online access in the Nunn Center’s OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer) system. The OHMS system, created by the Nunn Center and UK Libraries Digital Library Services, is a web-based tool to inexpensively and efficiently enhance access to, and discovery of, oral histories online. The OHMS system provides users word-specific search capability and a time-correlated transcript or index, connecting the textual search term to the corresponding moment in the recorded online interview. The Nunn Center will train members of the Oldham County community to use the OHMS system to index the interviews for access in UK’s innovative online system. Additionally, the Nunn Center will serve as an ongoing resource to the Oldham County community providing training for future oral history initiatives. 

The Oldham County History Center is making a $5,000 unrestricted gift to the Nunn Center to support the ongoing work of the center. The gift comes from funds provided by the Robins Foundation to support veteran’s interviews and exhibits. Private gifts are essential to the preservation of these unique historical records. 

According to Nancy Theiss, executive director of the Oldham County History Center, "the partnership with the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History and the University of Kentucky Libraries seems a natural evolution of our focus on research and education. 

"In today’s fast paced world these histories help to ground us by providing the embedded knowledge of experiences from people in our recent past. We live and learn by our role models and oral histories give us a sense of competency and understanding for living our lives. We look forward to working with the Nunn Center and the University of Kentucky to help continue to use oral history to fulfill our mission of research and historical preservation."