We’ve been on a long blog break, but we’re excited to get started sharing our Special Collections and University Archives news again.
On October 21, Special Collections participated in the first Kentucky Oral History Day. Sponsored by the Kentucky Oral History Commission and the Kentucky Council on Archives, the purpose of the day was to improve access to oral history collections and to promote awareness of oral history collection needs and strategies for collection management.
Repositories across the Commonwealth have actively collected people’s stories to document the history of Kentucky and to provide a broader picture of the past than what is in written documents alone. Twelve institutions dedicated staff time on October 21 to specifically work on their oral history collections, including Northern Kentucky University, Berea College, University of Kentucky, Georgetown College, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and others. The institutions held a lively Twitter conversation using the hashtag #OralHistoryDay to share their experiences and stories.
In Special Collections, we focused our efforts on adding information about our interviews to an online discovery tool called Pass the Word. The tool allows users to search for and find oral histories at over 600 different Kentucky repositories. You can find our interview information by going to http://passtheword.ky.gov, entering “Eva G. Farris Special Collections and Schlachter University Archives” in the search box at the top right of the screen, and selecting search. The tool displays the names of our collections and interviews. Each interview has a title, interviewee name, interviewer name, date of interview if available, and a description of the topics addressed in the interview. In order to listen to an interview or read a transcript, we ask that you visit the Archives Research Room during our public hours.
As a result of the Kentucky Oral History Day, we were able to learn about what other archives professionals are doing to care for their collections, share information about our collections, and promote the value of oral histories for understanding human experiences of the past.