Lynn Nelson's trademark style serves to provide people with an opportunity to pursue endeavors they love while he stands by and helps them to succeed. The Kansas Collection began this way. Lynn created the website in 1994 and then allowed Dick Taylor to develop it further. In turn, others were enabled to contribute, particularly Susan Stafford, who has managed KanColl during the past several years.
Lynn's Internet involvement reaches way back to its earliest days with his pioneering work in building the World-Wide Web. Long before the rest of us started, Lynn was already on the scene making possible the projects we would do later. Although Lynn shuns the spotlight, we recognize his contribution and accomplishments and we honor him here.
"I'm really a medieval historian, you know," wrote Lynn, "and I was happily going about my business of medievalizing until 1989, when I read a short article about the 'Internet,' 'discussion lists,' and a number of other things that aroused my curiosity."
Jokingly, he added: "Big mistake."
But Lynn was very active with the new concept "...in the summer of 1993, when I had History, the second World-Wide Web site -- outside of those of the groups who developed the technology -- to go into operation," as he told us. "I might add, for the benefit of all Kansans, that the first was KUFacts, here at the University of Kansas."
Lynn recalled: "I had the finest product of the latest technology, and there weren't enough hours in the day to do with it what should be done. I might point out that, even then, most people still considered computer telecommunications merely a device with which computer technicians played involved games."
He went on to explain: "Except for scientists and engineers, no one got paid, received released time, or was given assistance to work in the field. So I had this marvelous tool and no time to do much more than keep it in readiness to be used."
Before long, Lynn created new Internet projects such as Kansas On-Line and Early Kansas Imprint Scanners (EKIS). Both operations contributed to the birth and growth of the Kansas Collection website, which now reflects Lynn's continued efforts and those of volunteers he enables and contributors he encourages.
Possessing a vast knowledge of medieval history, Lynn has published several books. However, his general interests span the centuries and extend around the world. There are a wide variety of facets to his personal make-up. He's been a student, soldier, surveyor, oil-field worker, teacher, author, web-builder, mesmerizing narrator, family man, friend, mentor, leader and enabler, and has probably played a profusion of other roles about which we have yet to learn.
For your enjoyment, several of Lynn's stories are presented here in KanColl. In his writings you will discover the genuine and real Lynn Nelson, a pleasure to those who know him and a treasure to the World-Wide Web.