New Kennedy Digital Archive

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Today is being celebrated as the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. That is the one that contains the line, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” among others. In honor of this anniversary, last week, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the National Archives and Records Administration unveiled a digital presidential archive “providing unprecedented global access to the most important papers, records, photographs and recordings of President John F. Kennedy’s thousand days in office.”

The new archive contains approximately 200,000 pages, 300 reels of audio tape containing over 1,245 individual recordings of telephone conversations, speeches and meetings, 300 museum artifacts, 72 reels of moving images and 1,500 photos. Technical details are available in this white paper. Technology partners participating include AT&T, Raytheon, Iron Mountain, and EMC. There are plans to digitize more materials as “staff and resources” become available. The library can be accessed at

We’ll conclude with this visionary quote by Kennedy, who seems to have predicted the rise of the document imaging industry, “through scientific means of reproduction…and this will certainly be increased as time goes on, we will find it possible to reproduce the key documents so that they will be commonly available…” Who knew?

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