Over at Process, the blog of the Organization of American Historians, David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, provides us with an update on Barack Obama’s presidential “library.”
Here is a taste:
Will there be an Obama Presidential Library like the other 13 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives?
Not in the traditional sense of how presidential libraries are thought of today. The current plan is for the National Archives and the Obama Foundation to partner on an unprecedented effort to digitize all of the unclassified Obama White House paper records to provide the widest access possible for scholars and the public.
Why did President Obama and the Obama Foundation decide not to include a presidential library as part of the Obama Presidential Center?
I am not privy to the reasons that went into this decision and would refer you to the Obama Foundation. I believe they weighed a number of factors including space constraints on the site, architectural considerations, and the cost of the building and the 60-percent endowment that is required by Congress. Moreover, as more records are born-digital, this transition is a natural one. In fact, the majority of the records of the 44th President came to NARA in digital form, and it is appropriate for his presidency to be reflected as the first complete digital presidential library in our nation’s history.
That sounds exciting. How will it work?
We are in the process of working out the details with the Obama Foundation, who have committed to raising the funds to support a NARA-led effort to digitize these materials. We are currently working with the Obama Foundation to gather information necessary to develop a project plan and schedule for this initiative.