Sunday, March 13, 2016

Putting Lincoln Online Is No Easy Political Task; New York Times, 3/12/16

Editorial Board, New York Times; Putting Lincoln Online Is No Easy Political Task:
"One of the most ambitious research projects on Abraham Lincoln ever attempted — giving scholars, history buffs and students online access to every document Lincoln ever wrote or read — is being threatened by an absurd and intractable political and budget morass in the Illinois statehouse.
Someone — Gov. Bruce Rauner, perhaps — had better cut through the mess soon to guarantee the continued operation of the long-running, nationally respected project before Illinois becomes the Land of Lost Lincolniana. Managers of the project, the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, warn that it is being starved of money, with five of its 12 staff scholars already cut and its future in considerable doubt.
The digitization project, eagerly supported by Lincoln specialists and private donors, has so far found, annotated and published scores of thousands of freshly uncovered documents, adding to the universe of Lincoln materials. It began in the 1980s researching Lincoln’s legal career, then grew far bigger in scope as the Internet arrived. It will be “the Grand Central of all things Lincoln,” says Harold Holzer, a Lincoln scholar and writer concerned about its future."

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