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JFK documents to be digitized, published online

Kennedy Library, National Archives team with EMC to bring library's collection to the Internet.

The entire collection of papers, documents, photographs and audio recordings of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy is to be digitized 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 digitize the collection will begin with the official papers of President Kennedy.

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

EMC is making an in-kind donation of software, hardware and technical support worth more than $1 million to help set up the project.

Roy Sanford, VP at EMC, said work is already under way scanning documents but that it will take a year to 18 months before the first digitized content is published online. "It's a fairly extensive undertaking," Sanford said.

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

Sanford said remote backup will also permanently protect the JFK records if the physical documents are ever damaged or destroyed.

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

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

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.