Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

The Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, also known as The Nunn Center, at the University of Kentucky is a center of oral history interviews concentrating on 20th and 21st century, state Kentucky history. The Nunn Center maintains a collection of over 8,000 interviews made up of over 100 projects with an emphasis 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 established in 1973 by Charles Atcher. The Center is named after former Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn. From 1974 until 2005, the program was directed by Terry Birdwhistell, Ed.D.[1] followed by Jeffrey Suchanek. Since 2008, the Nunn Center has been directed by Doug Boyd, Ph.D.[2]


The Nunn Center contains over 8,000 interviews featuring a variety of individuals and projects. Major projects have included the Family Farm Project, the Colonel Arthur L. Kelly Veterans Oral History Project, 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 Nunn Center has aggressively undertaken efforts to digitize its collection.[4]

Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS)Edit

In 2008, the Nunn Center launched the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) online interface that synchronizes searchable text to audio and video. This system, designed by director Doug Boyd in partnership with Digital Library Services from the United Kingdom, allows users to link from their search results tom the corresponding moments in the interview.[5] The 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.

Featured projectsEdit


  1. ^ "Terry L. Birdwhistell, Ed.D. in '95. Named to the Alumni Hall of Fame in 2006". University of Kentucky College of Education - Alumni Hall of Fame. 2006. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Nunn Center Names New Director" (PDF). The Kentucky Archivist. 30 (1): 5. Spring 2008. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  3. ^ Wright, G. C. (1 January 1982). "Oral History and the Search for the Black Past in Kentucky". Oral History Review. 10 (1): 73–91. doi:10.1093/ohr/10.1.73. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  4. ^ Weig, Eric; Terry, Kopana; Lybarger, Kathryn (May 2007). "Large Scale Digitization of Oral History: A Case Study". D-Lib Magazine. 13 (5/6). Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  5. ^ Harrison, Denise; Skalsky, Cindy (9 September 2009). "Digital Repositories: U Kentucky Goes Digital with Thousands of Oral Histories". Campus Technology. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  6. ^ Wolverton, Brad (7 July 2011). "New Tool Could Help Researchers Make Better Use of Oral Histories". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 7 October 2015.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 38°01′48″N 84°30′14″W / 38.030°N 84.504°W / 38.030; -84.504