In my last post, I only focused on one of the major themes from the Summit Meeting: “this project will focus on asset discovery and access for users, as well as communication and collaboration with partner organizations.” Digging a little bit deeper into part of that message, I would like to focus on the collaboration with partner organizations. Over the course of two days, we spent a lot of time discussing our partners–who they might be, how to reach out to them, how to communicate with them, what pieces of the project would be most relevant to them, and how to get them to trust the project and want to be part of it.
We also decided that the partner organizations would lead us in deciding which of their sub-collections would be most appropriate to include in the product. The product is focused on U.S. presidents but we have not narrowed the focus much more than that. We envision that eventually it will include materials on presidents throughout their lives, their families, their cabinet members, important advisers, and probably more. With this broad approach, we are likely to incorporate some items that are not directly relevant to the president. For example, the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, has a lot of material on the assassination of President John Kennedy but they also have a lot of items about the city of Dallas. Obviously the items on Dallas are less relevant to this project than those on Kennedy. However, we plan to leave the decision about what to include to the partners. Since they curated their collections, they will have a much deeper understanding about them. We will provide guidelines and have conversations with them about the most suitable collections, but we will not cherry-pick through their collections for specific items. We will rely on their expertise to decide what collections should be included.