Candle and Books (EKIS)

Behind the Scenes . . .

In the Early Kansas Imprint Scanners (EKIS) workshop, volunteers use scanners to make electronic copies of materials such as books and photographs, proof any text, and then add web designs to include these works in the Kansas Collection. Here's a look at what the volunteers are up to, behind the scenes:

       Notes from around EKIS:
         Recognition from the Encyclopedia Britannica, the
         Andreas (Cutler's) History of the State of Kansas,
         and EKIS projects in progress

       Volunteer Spotlight:   Meet Connie Snyder

Notes from around EKIS

The Encyclopedia Britannica has started an Internet Guide and reviewed 65,000 websites for possible inclusion in their guide. Only 1% of these were rated with two stars, as "Exceptional"; KanColl was one of those sites. In addition, the "Bleeding Kansas" and Orphan Trains galleries were each awarded one star ("Recommended"). The Encyclopedia concluded its unusually long review with "This collection brings the past to life." For us, this is the highest recognition we could receive -- because that is exactly what we try to do. A very heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers and contributors who make this possible!.....In July, the Topeka Genealogical Society featured a presentation on KanColl at their monthly meeting. The Society members were very enthusiastic and friendly, and it was a great pleasure getting to know them. We are especially grateful to Lee Nichols and Moe Norris for all their help with the presentation, which featured a multimedia view of KanColl for those present. Connie DiPasquale was able to attend, and answered many questions about Orphan Trains! Everyone had a good time....More progress has been made in finishing the Andreas/Cutler's History of the State of Kansas. Rosana Whitenight is finishing Douglas county, the last county chapter in progress, though she had to take a short break when her grandchild was born! Congratulations to Rosana and her family, and thanks to John McDermid, who has finished another section of the "Early Explorations and Expeditions" part of the general Kansas history. Finally, John Matthews is taking over for Roger Pyle, who just completed a move cross-country, in editing a portion of the "Territorial Days" history.....Work also continues on the Andreas/Cutler's History of the State of Nebraska. Dixon, Holt and Blackbird counties have been completed, along with the extensive Military Roster, Temperance and Nebraska as a Territory sections! While all this was going on, Connie was also preparing for her son Steve's wedding -- we wish Steve and his new bride all the best. Connie is featured by the way in this issue's "Volunteer in the Spotlight".....Elsewhere in the EKIS workshop, Kathleen Roper has completed scanning Elizabeth Custer's Tenting on the Plains, and Mary Ann Thompson is polishing up Elfreida Rowe's Wonderful Old Lawrence. Rebecca and Ray Lewis are editing Capt. Randolph Barnes Marcy's Thirty Years of Army Life on the Border, scanned by George Nelson. John Maier (scanning) and Jim Sumner (editing) finished George Armstrong Custer's book, My Life on the Plains, and John has since scanned the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition for editing. We have also been blessed with a number of recent contributions: for example, Barbara Rivas contributed family photographs, Mark Dunn has donated a pictorial view of Virgil, Kansas, John Ragle contributed a set of family letters, and Lee Nichols has provided us with a number of turn of the century postcards. Many more works are in progress, and we have welcomed some new volunteers as well!.....We are saddened to report that Gordon McLinn, quoted in "Tornado!" in the Spring issue of Voices, passed away early in the morning on July 22, 1998, at the age of 87. He was a remarkable man, and will be greatly missed.

Volunteer Spotlight:   Meet Connie Snyder

     In our last issue, we introduced you to EKIS/KanColl Director Dick Taylor. In this issue, we are very pleased indeed to introduce you to Connie Snyder, our associate manager for the project to transcribe Cutler's (Andreas) History of the State of Nebraska.

     Connie was born and raised in Nebraska, although she has since lived in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas (for 23 years), and most recently in Missouri. She and Elvin, her husband, both graduated from Hastings College in Nebraska and have two children. Bev, married with two children of her own, Quenton and recent arrival Tabor, is an instrumental music teacher at Hoxie, KS. Steve, a student at Kansas State, will wed this summer.

     I don't think Connie has ever lacked for anything to do! She has abundant energy and is always willing to volunteer to help wherever she is needed. For example, she became actively involved with Girl Scouts, serving as Troop leader, trainer, event organizer, board member, and eventually an employee of the local council. In 1995, when she got connected to the Internet, she turned her energy to helping there, first Nancy Sween with the Kansas Surnames List project (she and Don Tharp now manage this webpage), and then at EKIS/KanColl.

     Connie first became actively involved with EKIS back in September 1996, when she volunteered to transcribe Dr. John S. Gihon's Geary and Kansas, a book published in 1857 about the violent days of "Bleeding Kansas." She transcribed the book both quickly and accurately. Since she had an interest in learning web design, she also wanted to do the work needed to place this volume on the Web. She learned very fast and did a wonderful job -- Connie has a real flair for design!

     After the book had been completed, it was time for a short break. She was completing a book about her family history, had started helping Barb Hruza design her Nebraska GenWeb site, Hamilton county, and began managing the Dawson county site there. These were the early days of Connie's participation in NEGenWeb. Not surprisingly, she has been very active there as well, and today is the state coordinator for this part of a national network of genealogical sites.

     Meanwhile, back at KanColl, work continued on the many projects in progress, including one of our biggest, Cutler's (Andreas) History of the State of Kansas, started in 1995. Our Director Dick Taylor had wanted for quite some time to begin work on transcribing a companion volume by William Cutler, History of the State of Nebraska. By November 1996, Dick was ready to start this next effort to transcribe Cutler's work.

     There was no question in our minds who we should ask to be the project manager: Connie fit the bill perfectly. She'd done a great job with the Gihon book, had told us she wanted to keep working with EKIS after her break, and like Dick, she had roots in Nebraska and a love of Nebraska history. As we settled who we wanted to ask, Connie mentioned to me that she was interested in transcribing the Dawson county chapter for her NEGenWeb site. We asked if she would manage transcribing the whole book at EKIS, and she accepted! In the space of a couple of days, everything just seemed to fall into place, and by early December, work was already well underway.

     As associate manager, Connie has designed the web pages, recruited and coordinated volunteers, and helped with copying, scanning, transcribing, proofreading, indexing and all the many other tasks associated with coordinating such a major project. More than 50 EKIS volunteers from across the world are involved in bringing the extremely long book to the Internet. This is a tremendous amount of work, but today, nearly two-thirds of the book is done and online. When you consider that since she started coordinating the project, Connie has also taken on substantial responsibilities for NEGenWeb, moved from her home of many years to a different state, and coped with a series of family matters, you can understand how extraordinary this is.

     As EKIS/KanColl manager, I've worked very closely with Connie, first on the Gihon book and then with Cutler's History of the State of Nebraska. She has always impressed me with her incredible capacity for work, her quickness in figuring out solutions, and her real talent for web design. She has a great rapport with the volunteers, and also a lively sense of humor. During long hours of transferring and checking files, she cheerfully offers "rum cakes" (based on a humorous recipe she saw that called for a quart of rum, most of which was to be consumed while assembling the cake!). She's joked about the effect of eclipses and full moons when we encountered problems, and somehow always seems to find something to laugh or smile about. Her good humor, patience, and careful attention to detail are invaluable in her work as EKIS associate manager. We hope that you have enjoyed getting to know her as much as we have!

Susan Stafford

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