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The FDR Presidential Library, National Archives, Marist College, IBM and the Roosevelt Institute Launch “FRANKLIN” Providing Access to FDR Library Digital Collections

  |   December 17, 2013  |  Comment

On December 4, 2013, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum launched FRANKLIN — a partnership of the FDR Presidential Library, National Archives and Records Administration, Marist College, IBM and the Roosevelt Institute. FRANKLIN is a virtual research room and digital repository that provides free and open access to the digitized collections of the Roosevelt Library. This new web-based repository of digitized material can be accessed at the Roosevelt Library’s website: www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu.

“Over 70 years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for ‘the duplication of records by modern processes’ to ensure the long term survival and accessibility of our nation’s historical heritage,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “With the launch of FRANKLIN, the Roosevelt Library — in partnership with Marist College, IBM, and the Roosevelt Institute — has taken a huge step in realizing FDR’s vision.”

What is FRANKLIN?

Whether you are a lover of history, a student working on a school project, or a scholar, FRANKLIN allows you to keyword search for archival documents and photographs and to search, browse, and view whole files, just as you could if you came to the Library’s research room in-person. Now available online are some of the most important documents of the twentieth century — primary source documentation of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s experiences leading the nation through the Great Depression and World War II.

What can you find in FRANKLIN?

Digital copies of significant documents and photographs from the archives of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum. FRANKLIN launched with 350,000 pages of archival documents and 2,000 historical photographs, along with many detailed descriptions of archival collections not yet digitized. Users can search the digital collections by keyword or directly browse the full lists of digitized archival folders in a virtual research room environment. Documents include Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s New Deal and wartime correspondence with world leaders, government administrators, and regular Americans. Photographs include public domain images of the Roosevelts throughout their respective lifetimes, as well as subject areas like the Great Depression, New Deal, and World War II.

Roosevelt historian and acclaimed author Douglas Brinkley remarked, “FRANKLIN and its 350,000 pages of newly digitized documents from the Roosevelt Library’s collections is an innovative and incredible resource for historians and researchers of all kinds. It is in keeping with the spirit of the Roosevelts that this valuable information is now accessible to people all over the world.”

Is everything digitized?

Not yet. FRANKLIN launches with two of the major collections of FDR’s Papers as President, along with selected Eleanor Roosevelt correspondence and several smaller batches of in-demand archival materials. The Roosevelt Library has an ongoing and ambitious digitization program and will post additional historical materials to FRANKLIN on an ongoing basis. A list of fully digitized collections appear on FRANKLIN’s home screen.

About this project

FRANKLIN is the result of a special cooperative effort — a unique combination of public, nonprofit, and corporate support. The Roosevelt Library and its parent agency, the

National Archives, worked with nonprofit partner the Roosevelt Institute to digitize a large amount of microfilmed archival documents. The Library’s digital partner and web host, Marist College, then developed and implemented FRANKLIN’s underlying database infrastructure based on the Archon platform. Marist runs the system using powerful servers manufactured by Marist and Roosevelt Library corporate partner, IBM.

Marist College President Dennis Murray remarked, “As one of only six colleges and universities nationwide to be affiliated with a presidential library, Marist is particularly proud to have collaborated with its partners the Roosevelt Library and IBM on this important project. Through their work on FRANKLIN, Marist students, faculty, and staff have helped make accessible to the world some of the 20th century’s most important historical records, while keeping Franklin Roosevelt’s legacy alive for future generations.”

In the future all of FRANKLIN’s documents will also become available to online users of the National Archives online catalog, Online Public Access (or OPA).

For more information about Franklin and its offerings visit www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu or call Cliff Laube at (845) 486-7745.

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