The Obama Foundation is taking an unconventional approach to the presidential center and library being planned in Chicago. It’s opting to host a digital archive of President Barack Obama’s records, but not keep his hard-copy manuscripts and letters and other documents onsite.
That means no thumbing through the ex-president’s correspondence on the health care fight or first drafts of his State of the Union addresses.
The decision has historians scratching their heads.
“All archivists are waiting to see how this will work, because we are all struggling with how to make things available digitally,” Peggy Glowacki, a manuscripts librarian at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune reported that while Obama’s physical records are currently in a private facility in Illinois, they will likely be shipped to locations in and around Washington, D.C. One upside for organizers to keeping documents out of the presidential center, according to the report, is that officials could skirt certain federal standards for construction.
But the foundation is casting its approach as simply keeping pace with the times.
“The foundation’s goal is to create, with NARA, a new model for the next generation of presidential centers that reflects the way people access information in this digital age,” an Obama Foundation spokesperson told Fox News, referring to the National Archives and Records Administration. “The Obama Foundation will be funding through private funds the digitization of all non-classified presidential records in order to help facilitate better…Read More