JFK library to put all its records online

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13 January 2011 Last updated at 07:24 ET

JFK library to put all its records online

By Maggie Shiels Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

The presidential library commemorating the life of US President John F Kennedy is digitising every scrap of paper, video, audio and artefact it possesses.

The project is the largest by one of the 13 presidential libraries.

Materials already digitised include secret phone conversations about the Cuban missile crisis.

There are also recordings of meetings discussing Vietnam, civil rights and the space race, school report cards and letters from JFK to his mother.

"We are scanning every single piece of paper, movie and audio tape we have in our possession," Tom Putnam, JFK library director told BBC News.

"Unlike other libraries there is no archivist making a decision about what they think you would like to see," he said. "We are showing everything we have."

To date more than 200,000 pages have been digitised along with 1,500 photos, 72 reels of film and 300 reels of audio tape containing 1,245 individual recordings of telephone conversations, speeches and meetings.

"That is a very small fraction of the millions of papers we have here," said Mr Putnam.

The library's total archive encompasses 48 million pages, 7,000 hours of audio recordings, 16,000 museum artefacts and 400,000 photographs.

The Kennedy online library is said to be the largest to be converted from pre-digital formats.

Libraries of more recent presidents already have a wealth of digital holdings. For instance, Bill Clinton's library contains more than 20 million e-mail messages.

Read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk...nology-12181154

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