Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dallas Docs Updated

More than 11,000 of Dallas’s JFK-related documents to get “serious” digital upgrade in time for 50th anniversary

John Slate, the city’s archivist, is a noted expert on the assassination of John Kennedy — or haven’t you seen his star turn as the conspiracy theorist wandering the old Austin Half Price Books stacks in Richard Linklater’s Slacker? He’s the real deal in real life too, having been involved in the digitization of the Dallas Municipal Archives’ collection of documents and photos related to the killing of the president — a process that began way back in 1992, when Wang Laboratories created “a virtual collection” of some 11,000 photos, police reports, affidavits, letters and witness statements.”

“It was the first project of its kind, a pioneering process,” says Slate this morning. “It made national news.”

Those docs remain visible on the city’s website as theJohn F. Kennedy/Dallas Police Department Collection. But in November 2009 the 404 photos in the collection migrated to the University of North Texas’s Portal to History; Slate told me a few months later, in conjunction with the online release of the city’s Bonnie and Clyde collection, that the other JFK-related docs would join them at some point.

This morning, on the heels of Scott Parks’s piece about Mayor Mike Rawlings’s commemoration committee, Slate reveals the due date: November of next year, but of course.

UNT has begun the process of digitizing the collection, Slate says, but it’s mammoth. Which means “it will take a while to finish it.”

The UNT collection will mirror the city’s, Slate says, “but it will be a serious upgrade.” As in: “Everyy document will be in color, there will be much higher resolution, and it will be fully text-searchable, which probably wasn’t available in 1992. It’s going to be exactly like the 1992 edition — but much better.”

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