The Notable Kentucky African Americans (NKAA) was originally a website with a series of individual web pages listing approximately 200 biographical entries on African Americans in and from the state of Kentucky. The site went live in September 2003. It consisted of one entry for each person arranged under the profession or activity in which they were notable, with references to sources of additional information.
For decades patrons from campus and the community have come to the reference desk asking for information on Kentucky African Americans. If it wasn't a well-known name such as Muhammad Ali or Georgia Powers or Isaac Murphy, then the odds of finding anything were slim to none. The main idea behind the website was to bring together the pieces of information found in various resources in Kentucky in order to give the patron a solid starting point.
The website grew at an unbelievably fast rate, and over the years a variety of enhancements were added, including both a full, single-page list (which allowed users to search the full listing) and separate files for each subject grouping, accessible from a dropbox. This required maintaining two copies of every record (since the pages were static HTML files). In addition, the website kept growing larger by the second, so a new interface became a necessity.
With a great deal of gratitude to Associate Dean for Information Technology Kelly Vickery, Web Administration Librarian Beth Kraemer, and Programmer Brian Helm, the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database was constructed at the beginning of 2007. On April 1, a link to the database was made public. A month later the cataloging records for the database were updated.
On May 30, 2007, the initial website was removed and users are now re-directed to the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database. Over the next decade continued technical assistance was provided by Ed Brown, Director of Web Development at UK Libraries.
For a detailed account of the development of the NKAA, see Jones, Reinette, "Creating a Web Resource: African American Kentuckian Profiles," Journal of Library Administration, vol. 43, issues 3/4 (2005) pp. 149-159.
Move to Omeka Database Management Platform
In September of 2017, it was announced that the NKAA Database had received a major upgrade. UK Digital Library Architect Eric Weig executed the work needed to move NKAA to an Omeka database management platform. Eric oversees the continued technical support of the upgraded version of NKAA that provides a much more robust and interactive reference tool. The upgrades include advanced search options; citation format for each entry; social media booking options; a mobile device interface; cross-referencing between entries and sources; geographic location searching of the entire NKAA Database; and links to many of the sources that can be found in the UK Libraries and other libraries in Kentucky.
For additional information about the upgrade, see Hale, Whitney, “Notable Kentucky African Americans Database undergoes upgrade,” UKNOW, Sept. 29, 2017.
Contact Eric Weig if you would like additional information about the NKAA Database upgrade to an Omeka database management platform.
African American Library Directors in the USA
The listing of African American library directors in the United States developed from an inquiry posted by Alonzo W. Hill on the listserv of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). Alonzo Hill is full-time librarian at the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library. Hill compiled the names and addresses received via the BCALA listserv, and in collaboration with Reinette Jones, a University of Kentucky Librarian, they created a database for the entries.
The African American library directors’ database resides on the Notable Kentucky African Americans database (NKAA) site in order to take advantage of the structure established for a similar biographical presentation. NKAA is pleased to be able to host this unique collection of significant contributors to libraries around the United States.
Visit the BCALA website to learn more about the organization.