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Pass the Word: Unlocking Kentucky's Oral History Heritage and KOHC's Enduring Legacy

Founded in 1976, the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC) stands as a testament to the enduring power of narrative. Now administered by the Kentucky Historical Society, KOHC is one of the few state-funded oral history entities in the United States dedicated to preserving and sharing the voices and stories that define the Commonwealth. Through grants, equipment loans, training, and unwavering technical support, the Kentucky Historical Society and the KOHC have played a pivotal role in fostering the growth of oral history across the state. 

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Introducing 'Pass the Word': A Gateway to Kentucky's Rich Oral History Archives

Hatfield Media is excited to introduce "Pass the Word," a platform that opens the door to an extensive collection of oral histories from repositories throughout Kentucky. These archives explore the captivating narratives that have shaped the Bluegrass State, where oral history has been on the cutting edge for decades. Pass the Word celebrates the vibrant and diverse voices of Kentuckians.

Hatfield Media Transforms Kentucky's Oral History Archives with Enhanced Access and User-Friendly Features

Pass the Word came to Hatfield Media with several objectives in mind. Their main goal for the new website was to enhance accessibility for users. Another aim of the project was to revamp the website's interface and facilitate the addition or removal of content at their discretion.

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Hatfield Media played a pivotal role in organizing Pass the Words’ oral history archives, making it easier for listeners to access and engage with the stories of Kentucky's past. By converting the catalog data into searchable and filterable information, the developers at Hatfield Media not only streamlined the search for specific narratives but also offered a more comprehensive and immersive experience for listeners. The team developed an interview uploading feature that empowers content contributors and ensures the steady flow of captivating oral histories. 

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Content Import Tool: Access to Kentucky's Rich Oral History Heritage

The Content Import Tool acts as a digital bridge,  gathering oral histories from a multitude of repositories across the Commonwealth. It's like a digital librarian, cataloging each interview, standardizing the metadata, and ensuring that all content adheres to a uniform structure. The website transforms the way users can access and explore their vast collections. Jonny Kuo, Director of Development explained, “The technical focus for Pass the Word's website was to not only provide a way to interact with their collections of oral history, but to be able to import their database of archives on demand. We built an import tool that understands the format of their archives and converts the data to repositories, collections, and links that can be searched and filtered. We host the website and media player with cloud technology allowing administrators to upload media assets over the web, making them immediately available for the media player.“ 

Seamless Navigation: Explore Kentucky's Oral Histories

Johannah Ball, Processing Specialist at the Kentucky Historical Society, notes that their “favorite feature of the new website would be that users can click on a link that displays our website’s content on another page, which makes it easier to spot issues with the website that need to be modified. The most important feature of the website is giving users a stable platform from which they can access interviews. Additionally, having access to a stable backend for the website helps us to pivot quickly when needed to address technical issues users are experiencing.”

Explore Kentucky's Oral Heritage with Ease

Now, when you visit Pass the Word, you can navigate through an array of oral histories, filtering by topic, location, or contributor. Whether you're searching for stories from a specific region, exploring particular themes, or seeking narratives from a favorite interviewer, our Content Import Tool makes it all possible. This streamlined and consistent format not only simplifies the user experience but also ensures that no story gets lost in the vast tapestry of Kentucky's oral heritage.