These are my notes from Michael Church’s presentation on “Kansas Memory: Real Stories, Real People” at the 2010 MACE (Mid-America Association for Computers in Education) Conference in Manhattan, Kansas. MY THOUGHTS AND FEEDBACK ARE IN ALL CAPS. I am audio recording this with permission from Michael and may later post this as an audio podcast.

Here to present our digital archive: Kansas Memory
– a free website to access our collections: manuscripts, state archives, maps, AV materials
– also bringing museum artifacts and archeological artifacts on the site
– is an online repository, not a project
– we are not going to stop after a certain number of sources
– we are continually adding new material on the site
– our selection procedures favor

designed to have comprehensive geographic and temporal coverage of our state
– want to provide immediate access to sources the general public wouldn’t usually have access to
– many things on our site are unique to our site
– if you wanted to see these, you would have to COME to our site
– now anyone with access to the Internet can use these sources

We wanted to find a way for this to be dynamic
– to improve the site as it’s being used by users
– like Amazon we are tracking metrics
– will be adding comments, ability for users to manage materials
– will be adding collaboration tools on the site: haven’t realized that vision yet, but it’s coming

The Kansas Historical Society is based in Topeka

Now have over 12,000 unique items on our site, with over 91K total items
– this is just a tiny fraction of our total holdings

all material on the site is free, available without restrictions
– when you become a registered member of the site, you have access to some additional abilities to manage your account and materials

We don’t put materials up that would violate the copyright of a copyright owner
– all of the materials we have should be able to be easily used

Are some “grey area” materials / orphaned materials
– no one is sure if the copyright holder is still alive, or if it has passed to a descendant
– if those are used in an educational setting, not for commercial purposes, there is no reason we should be concerned about that
– we just ask if you intend to use it / post it online then contact us (for educational purposes) there is no problem
— commercial users of our site have to pay use fees based on how widely distributed


If you register on Kansas Memory as a teacher (Under “optional information” on the registration page) the site will default to teacher-mode and show you specific teacher materials
– it simplifies the category browser on our site which are correlated to standards

You get access to your “book bag” after you register
– gives you a customized profile
– you can even add your Twitter account so it will show up on your profile!

My Profile - Kansas Memory

My Kansas Memory - Kansas Memory

We do have a mobile website
– very scaled down version:

We are trying to take advantage of syndicated feeds, your browsing history, activity on our site, etc


We developed this site from scratch in-house, with developers
– with the intent of making browsing the large number of items we have related to each other easy
– we created a category browsing scheme, with several high level categories

We developed our own content management system, and have been working on this for years
– we hoped to get this up a year sooner than we did
– we’ve looked at other
– we wanted full control over the applications so we just bought it all in-house
– we are continually revising this
– in the next 6 months we will be putting out a new version that will look considerably different than this, but have all the current features plus more

Have integrated search and browse features, so you can do sub-searches within a query

Before adding an item to your “book bag” on the site, you must add a descriptive note. You can also add an item to a specific folder on your profile, to help with research organization.

Aaron Dwight Stevens - Kansas Memory

Sample category search: Go under people and and click American Indians, then revise by date (in this example, 1870s only)

Kansas Memory - Search for People: American Indians and refined to 1870s

Dull Knife raid was the last Indian raid in Kansas, conflict with Dull Knife and both settlers and soldiers

Cheyenne prisoners in Dodge City - Kansas Memory


You can move items into folders to organize in your book bag

Can move items into folders on Kansas Memory

Are primarily using “double corn fields” as an array for our meta data, complies with MARK format

Site launched in Oct 2007, have about 2000-3000 registered users, but get LOTS more uses (something like 1500 use sessions per day)

When you create a search/query, you can create an RSS feed for that query so you can keep track of new resources / artifacts which are added to our collection and match that query


Interesting discovery tool: When you view an item you can see who has added it to their “bookbag,” so you can discover
– you can add your Twitter password to your user profile and you can send a tweet about an item directly from our site

We are on Twitter, new items added to our website are added to our Twitter feed:

Kansas Memory (KansasMemory) on Twitter

We don’t have many digital video resources yet because that process is so time-intensive
– we have 23 AV items now

Kanas Emergency Relief Committee Film available on our site
– haven’t made this easy to embed these videos

Do have a YouTube channel, currently this is the only thing on there now (cut into 28 pieces)

Rabbit Drives, 1934. Kansas Emergency Relief Committee

I spoke with Michael about the possibility of partnering with the Kansas Historical Society for our forthcoming “Celebrate Kansas Voices” project sponsored by Storychasers.

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3 Responses to Kansas Memory: Real Stories, Real People #mace2010

  1. […] – Wes Fryer of Moving at the Speed of Creativity fame was at an earlier session and has a great post with some sweet screenshots. Head over there to get a fuller […]

  2. […] the Kansas Historical Society, along with other staff members. Yesterday I heard KSHS staff member Michael Church present on “Kansas Memory: Real Stories, Real People” about their phenomenal Kansas Memory […]

  3. […] the Kansas Historical Society, along with other staff members. Yesterday I heard KSHS staff member Michael Church present on “Kansas Memory: Real Stories, Real People” about their phenomenal Kansas Memory website. The presentation we shared yesterday and today here […]

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