The online database launched recently by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is exactly the kind of thing that historians and public alike need and deserve. By digitally preserving the president’s archives and recordings, the library has opened up the material to the professional research and enthusiast for free. While I appreciate that the museum and library have other revenue sources that mean it doesn’t need to charge for accessing the database, it is also fully in keeping with the trend in information access and storage, as the director acknowledged.
“For young people today, if it isn’t on the Internet, it doesn’t really exist,” said library director Tom Putnam. “I hope this brings him alive to a new generation of Americans. [It offers] a fuller sense of the man.” It took four years to digitize the artifacts, photos and videos, and the process is ongoing, said Mr Putnam.
I would definitely recommend having a poke around at what’s available. I really like how the images are not only high-resolution, but automatically zoom in a separate pane as you move the cursor over them.