You know, when I was thinking about the first Presidential administration to have an online digital archive (you gotta have something to occupy your mind when you’re standing in line at the bank) I was guessing Jimmy Carter (the timing, the historical controversies that are still relevant) or Bill Clinton (timing, still in the public eye.) But JFK works too.
If you’ve been following the news at all you know that last week the John F. Kennedy Presidental Library and Museum launched the JFK Digital Library at http://www.jfklibrary.org/. The entire contents of the library aren’t digitized (of course) but the site is divided into a searchable archive of digital content as well as topical sections.
The topical sections include a diary for each of JFK’s days in office. You can view highlights of that day and look at the specific schedule of appointments as well (though these are somewhat hard to read as they look like they’ve been photocopied about a hundred times.) There’s also a special section for the JFK inauguration (people rocked some hats in the 60s) and a selection of multimedia from JFK’s historical speeches.
I would like to tell you all about my searching in the digital archive. Unfortunately despite trying it over 2 days, I got either repeated Server 500 errors (I suspect too many server connections) or the message that the search was down for maintenance and not available.
I’m going to try to come back and look at this later (I’m putting this up to remind me as much as anything else) but at the moment the digital archive is only partially functional. It’s 2011, and Web sites are still underestimating how popular they’re going to be! (Oh well. I guess it’s the kind of problem you want to have.)