"I would like to thank, on behalf of all the people who have benefited
from it, Lynn Nelson for his great effort to build and maintain the
WWW Virtual Library for History."
Tim Berners-Lee, World Wide Web Inventor, November 2004
[In 1998, Stephen Chinn, the original author of many web sites
covering Kansas history, wrote about the start of the Kansas Heritage
Group. Stephen did his work under the guidance of Dr. Lynn H. Nelson,
University of Kansas history professor emeritus. Lynn Nelson is still
working with the web.]
The first public Web sites anywhere were developed at the
University of Kansas. These include 1) KUfacts 2) the Index of
Resources for Historians and 3) Kansas On-Line.
The Kansas Heritage Group was located until 2005 at the University of Kansas and was
created by Lynn H. Nelson in 1994. The Kansas Heritage Group was
developed from the content of its predecessor called 'Kansas History and
Life' (a.k.a. Kansas On-Line) that was established by Lynn Nelson in 1993.
The electronic texts archived in Kansas On-Line also became the foundation
for the Kansas Collection.
The first web sites built originally as part of Kansas Heritage include
the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS), Kansas Pioneers List (KPL),
One-Room School House (ORSH) project, Johnson County Genealogical Society,
Sunflower Journeys (SJ), Early Kansas Imprint Scanners (EKIS), Historical
Directory of Kansas Towns (HDKT), the Kansas Humanities Council (KHC),
Abilene Community Network, and the Kansas Community Network (KCN).
Nancy Sween created several Web sites at the University of Kansas
on another server and later moved them to Kansas Heritage. Sites
created by Nancy Sween include Kansas Interactive Genealogy
(KIG), Kansas Sights, and Santa Fe Trail and the American West:
WWW-VL: History: directory.
The Kansas Heritage index page has had more than 846,000 visitors since
October 1996. A large portion of the early traffic was directed towards
the Kansas State Historical Society (KSHS) site created 21 Jan 1994 by
Lynn Nelson who spent some time preparing materials. The original pages
were developed by two students based on materials supplied by the Society.
The Kansas State Historical Society site became the first state or
local history society anywhere to be on-line.
Stephen Chinn took over the site management duties later in 1994.
Eventually the site was taken over by the KSHS web team. The
society staff turned the site into the finest state and local
history Web site in the nation. In October 1997 the Kansas State
Historical Society received an 'Award of Merit' from the American
Association for State and Local History (AASLH) which is the
highest award the AASLH bestows on historical agencies.
The Heritage Group has developed some web sites that have moved off on
their own. The Sunflower Journeys (SJ) site was developed in 1994 by
Steven Chinn with cooperation of Dave Kendall, series producer.
Sunflower Journeys was the first public television program with its own
Web site, and it may have been the first television program with its own
Web site, period.
Other sites that have gone off on their own include the first Lawrence
Community Network that is now the Lawrence Cybervillage; the Omnivore News
Service, which began along with Kansas On-Line as a service on the front
page of History; the Kansas Humanities Council, the first humanities
council on the web in the nation; and the Kansas One-Room School House project.
To quote Lynn Nelson, "I think we have done a number of
organizations a real service by getting them on-line two or three
years before they might have done, and so we have put Kansas in
the forefront of things. A lot of the sites going up now make
ours look a bit shabby, I suppose, but we were there first, and
we did it without any money whatsoever. Moreover, all of our
materials are freely available for public use."
The Kansas Heritage Group management was given to George Laughead Jr. in
2002. Since that time, the Kansas History Web Sites directory was created,
in addition to the Ford County Historical Society site, Artists In Kansas,
Beats In Kansas, Cooking In Kansas, and Racing In Kansas directories, among others.
Page created: 09 Apr 1998. Updated: 21 November 2008.