Kennedy Presidential Library Announces Ground Breaking Initiative to Permanently Preserve the Archives of JFK
Press Release · Friday, June 9, 2006
Twenty-nine years after participating in the formal groundbreaking of the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Columbia Point, Senator Edward M. Kennedy today announced a major and unprecedented effort by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to build a new library – a digital one consisting of the entire collection of papers, documents, photographs and audio recordings of President John F. Kennedy, eventually making them accessible to citizens throughout the world via the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s web site – www.jfklibrary.org
Senator Kennedy was joined by Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, and Joe Tucci, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of EMC Corporation, whose company is providing the National Archives and archivists at the Kennedy Presidential Library with the technology and technical expertise needed to undertake the project.
The initiative announced today to digitize, index and archive millions of presidential documents, manuscripts, photographs and audio/visual recordings at a presidential library collection is the first of its kind in the nation. It materialized as the result of the leadership of the Kennedy Library Foundation, which has forged a strong public-private partnership with the Kennedy Presidential Library and its Director Deborah Leff. The Kennedy Library Foundation is a private non-profit organization that provides creative resources and financial support to the Kennedy Presidential Library. The Foundation’s President is Caroline Kennedy.
Included among the millions of historical papers, documents and images that will be permanently preserved are precious and irreplaceable records of the nation’s struggle for Civil Rights; its conflict with the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War; its efforts to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the decade; its commitment to public service through the creation of the Peace Corps; its prevention of a nuclear holocaust during the Cuban Missile Crisis; and its embrace of American art and culture under the guidance of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
The ground breaking initiative has been made possible by EMC, the Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based world leader in information management and storage, whose in-kind donation in software, hardware and technical support and services is expected to exceed $1 million for the total project.
EMC was approached for its support of the project by Paul G. Kirk, Jr., Board Chairman of the Kennedy Library Foundation, John Shattuck, CEO of the Kennedy Library Foundation, and Foundation Board member Ed Schlossberg, husband of Caroline Kennedy, and principle of ESI Design, one of the world’s foremost experiential design firms whose work includes the Ellis Island Visitors web site. Schlossberg, who designed the new Kennedy Presidential Library web site launched last March (www.jfklibrary.org), envisioned a data asset management system that would enable the Kennedy Presidential Library to eventually make its archives available and accessible to a world wide audience through the new web site. It was through the efforts of the Kennedy Library Foundation that the cost for the design and technical development of the Kennedy Presidential Library’s new web site was funded by private donations.
The Kennedy Presidential Library’s research facilities are among the busiest of presidential libraries. Its archives currently include more than 8.4 million pages of the personal, congressional and presidential papers of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and more than 40 million pages of over 300 other individuals who were associated with the Kennedy Administration or mid-20th Century American history. In addition, the archives hold more than 400,000 still photographs; 11,000 hours of audio recordings; 8.5 million feet of motion picture film; and 1,200 hours of video recordings. The project to digitize the collection is expected to take more than 10 years and will begin with the official papers of President Kennedy.
"President Kennedy wrote that history was the means by which a nation establishes its sense of identity and purpose," said Senator Edward Kennedy. "For scholars and students, presidential libraries hold the memory of our nation - they are unique repositories of our country’s history. As the storage capability required for this amount of data far exceeds anything that the National Archives or the Kennedy Presidential Library can provide, we are extremely fortunate that EMC has made such a generous and extraordinary donation to preserve forever this treasure of American history."
"EMC is proud to be working with the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to ensure that its historical treasures are preserved and made broadly accessible to scholars and the general public around the world for generations to come," said Joe Tucci, EMC’s Chairman, President and CEO. "EMC’s mission is to help organizations get the most value possible from their information by providing them with world-class technologies and solutions for capturing, storing, managing, protecting, moving, and archiving information in all forms. It’s especially gratifying to have been able to donate our financial support, storage platforms, software, and technical expertise to such a distinguished library located in our home state of Massachusetts."
"A large-scale digitizing initiative, such as that initiated by the Kennedy Presidential Library, is a complex undertaking," said Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States. "The task of digitizing this important and treasured archive will require a dedicated staff and will take years to complete. I have utmost confidence in our ability to undertake this task. We are indebted to EMC for providing us with both the resources and technical expertise to launch this historic initiative."
The projects' objectives are five-fold:
- The long-term preservation of administration records, photographs, documents, video and audio;
- Provide online accessibility to a worldwide audience;
- Enhance one’s ability to search the collection using metadata;
- Protecting historical assets through remote replication (keeping a copy in another location in case of disaster); and
- Minimizing wear and tear on irreplaceable physical assets.
EMC Technology and Systems Employed Working with Library archivists, EMC has built an information infrastructure based on a variety of EMC software and systems to digitize, index and archive the Library's information. With this solution in place, the Library can scan a document to create a digital file. EMC Documentum ApplicationXtender® software stores the metadata needed to index this information and will also help present this information on the web. EMC DiskXtender® software moves and stores this information onto an EMC CLARiiON® system and then archives the information to an EMC Centera™ system. EMC NetWorker™ software is used to backup this information remotely to ensure it is available in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
The signature Centera™ and Documentum™ products that have been donated to the Kennedy Library Foundation offer a variety of tools including databases, search engines, and other tools to annotate and add descriptive information to any digital asset, and programs for presenting and printing the digital data. Because EMC will also provide unlimited storage, the Library will not have to be concerned about asset integrity and the size of files.
The EMC Documentum™ software will enable the Kennedy Presidential Library to create a catalog of all digitized holdings that will be stored permanently and securely on Centera.™ It will also allow complete control over what documents or items within the Library’s holdings and collections are made accessible to the public.
EMC Corporation is the world leader in products, services, and solutions for information storage and its management. EMC is the information storage standard for every major computing platform and, through its solutions, serves as caretaker for more than two-thirds of the world’s most essential information.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is one of 11 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and is supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.
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