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JFK Presidential Library Goes Online
January 14, 2011

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The first presidential library to go online is that of John F. Kennedy. His daughter Caroline has unveiled the $10 million library project, which has already begun digitizing thousands of papers and audiovisual records of her father's three-year presidency. (Kennedy, elected in 1960, was assassinated in 1963.)

The project is part of the Kennedy Presidential Library, in Boston. Progress has been made, with 200,000 pages already committed to electronic memory. Thousands of audio recordings, video files, and reels of film have been archived, as have scans of a few hundred museum artifacts. First onto digital were the Oval Office files, official White House photos, audio of Kennedy's public remarks and presidential phone calls, video of his most famous speeches,  his personal papers, and even home movies of the president and his family and friends. 

The library plans to get at least 100,000 pages and thousands of images archived a year. Even though Kennedy was in office only three years, the library still has a massive amount of material to archive. Estimates are that at the current rate (and assuming that nothing else is added), the last page or image to be archived would be completed in the 22th Century. 

The utility for students and researchers, of course, is the accessibility (primarily the ease of search) of a massive amount of information in an easy-to-use forum. 

Some funding for the project is from private sources, among them AT&T, Raytheon, and EMC Corp. Another contributor, Iron Mountain Corp., will also maintain a backup copy of all digital archives. 

Click here to see the online library.



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