AVP worked with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in support of their work to revamp their digitization, digital preservation, and access infrastructure and program, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to have been a partner in this effort to preserve and provide access to President Kennedy’s legacy.

Our engagement began in April 2017, when the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation selected AVP amongst a competitive pool of service providers to create a Technical Roadmap for the Library’s digitization program. Their aim was to build on the great digitization and dissemination work they have completed to date, by ramping up production through a radical transformation of the Library’s technical infrastructure and processes, in order to digitize a significant portion of its 24 million holdings in a five-year period. The project would look at several functional areas: document and photograph digitization, audiovisual digitization, digital asset management, storage, metadata creation, and accessibility.

Our engagement in support of this goal consisted of three phases:

  • Assess the Library’s existing digitization program infrastructure and workflows;
  • Survey products, services, and approaches that could help the Library establish a more sustainable, secure, and accessible digitization program; and
  • Produce recommendations for the technical direction of the digitization program

To start, we visited the Library in order to interview key staff, see demos of current systems, and shadow staff while they performed their work. This visit, combined with a period of document, data, and workflow review, allowed us to produce an assessment report that detailed the Library’s current state in terms of digitization output, preservation of digital assets, and accessibility of content, as well as identifying risks and opportunities for the future of the digitization program.

The second phase involved extensive vendor research. This began by developing a set of requirements for each functional area (digitization, storage, asset management, metadata, accessibility) and creating requests for information (RFIs) to gather more information from prospective solution providers. Using this information, we engaged with over 40 vendors to understand service offerings, potential costs, and estimated timelines for completion. From here, AVP was able to produce a short list of potential vendors that aligned with the JFK Library’s requirements, and represented candidates for responding to future RFPs.

In the final phase of the engagement, AVP created a set of five scenarios that charted paths and outcomes for the digitization, dissemination, and preservation of the JFK Library collection over a five-year period. These scenarios explored different possibilities for scope of digitization and metadata creation, approaches to technological infrastructure (e.g., cloud vs. on-premise vs. hybrid storage), and associated costs, including the internal resources that would be required to fulfill each scenario. Finally, we outlined an initial high-level action plan.

JFK Library Foundation was able to use the outputs of this project to provide a concise report to its board and to begin the fundraising process. AVP has been fortunate to continue supporting the JFK Library Foundation through its fundraising and planning efforts, and we look forward to seeing the evolution of the digitization program.

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