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Digital Archiving and Hemingway’s Hamburger Recipe

Being in this space for too many years to count, I’ve often been pleased to see that there are altruistic ECM projects going on.  Something as Lee would put it, “wasn’t putting toilet seats on the internet.”  I really enjoy the work I can do with non-profits and it just puts an extra pep-in-your-step when you know that you’re not increasing profits or cutting costs.  Then there are those projects that are looking for the technology to make data accessible to the public.

My first project was one of those.  In 1998, the documents from the atomic bomb project were being declassified.  We designed a solution to process the documents from digitization through workflow for redaction to finally making them searchable from local libraries.  The story even got published in Information Week under the title, “Make Documents Not War.”

Today I learned about the efforts to digitize the libraries at Bletchley Park, which was home to the code breakers of World War II.  The center is accredited with cracking several Nazi codes.  Today not only are the buildings and ground being restored for history by the UK National Trust, but also the documents the building housed.  It’s a joint effort between HP and Hyland, the makers of OnBase, that’s been going on for the last two years.  That project hit a milestone here recently.

That lead me to look for an update to a project that I found interesting a few years back, digitizing Ernest Hemingways’ personal library in Cuba.  Hemingway, the famous author of books like “The Old Man and the Sea” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, had lived in Cuba from 1939 until 1960.  His home Finca Vigia (Lookout Farm) was abandoned after the Bay of Pigs Invasion in April of 1961.

When I heard about the project back in 2002, I imagined what sort of documents had laid hidden in that collection of 2,500 documents.  That collection is now accessible at the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.  The second set of documents was delivered in February of this year (2014).  Someday, I might search the library using lessons I learned from my Finnish research.  But one piece of information mention in an article caught my attention and a quick Google search brought me to another article that included the information that intrigued me,  Papa Hemingway’s Favorite Hamburger Recipe.  Now to see if I can get the ingredients in time for the Fourth of July.

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