JFK archives to be put online

The archives of the Kennedy Presidential Library's research facilities include more than 8.4 million pages of the president's personal, congressional and presidential papers

The entire collection of papers, documents, photographs and audio recordings of former US President John F Kennedy is to be digitised and made available online.

The 10-year project to build a new digital library is a joint collaboration between IT vendor EMC, the Kennedy Presidential Library and the US National Archives and Records Administration.

The archives of the Kennedy Presidential Library's research facilities currently include more than 8.4 million pages of the personal, congressional and presidential papers of JFK, along with more than 40 million pages of 300-plus other individuals who were associated with the Kennedy Administration or mid-20th century US history.

The archives also hold more than 400,000 still photographs; 9,000 hours of audio recordings; 7.5 million feet of motion picture film; and 1,200 hours of video recordings. The project to digitise the collection will begin with the official papers of President Kennedy.

Some of the papers and images that will be digitised and permanently preserved include records covering the moon landings programme and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

EMC is making an in-kind donation of software, hardware and technical support worth more than $1m (£530,000) to help set up the project.

Roy Sanford, vice president at EMC, said work is already underway scanning documents but that it will take a year to 18 months before the first digitised content is published online.

"It's a fairly extensive undertaking," he said.

EMC will use its Clariion product for cache consolidation and supporting the servers, its Centera product for long-term archiving of the digitised content, and its Documentum product for digital asset management, which will allow indexed search of the content.

Sanford said remote back-up will also permanently protect the JFK records if the physical documents were ever damaged or destroyed.

He said: "Even in the event of a disaster, such as a fire, we will ensure these assets are preserved for all of humanity."

EMC currently expects around 11 terabytes of digitised content but will be providing unlimited storage to the Kennedy Library Foundation.

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