I’m excited about the JFK Timeline Project, even if I don’t fully understand it.
I’m excited because, as I said in Dallas last November, the JFK research community needs to up its collective game, get into the 21st century, and exploit the information technology that is transforming our lives. Easier said than done.
But thanks to Brian Castle, a programmer extraordinaire and self-described “n00b” when it comes to JFK, we have a work in progress: a website that seeks to harness the power of computing to generate new insights about the events of November 1963.
Here’s how Castle put it in an email:
“My observations in this last 3 months of reading in the JFK space, have been a lot about ‘camps’ and ‘personalities’ and the like – and I find all that somewhat distasteful in a space of genuine research. I come out of academia, and we see a lot of that there too – research silos, fiefdoms, the whole nine yards. People get invested in their reputations, that kind of thing. Tends to … ‘slow down’ the progress, in the research in general.”
“My thought has been, let’s throw some technology at this, and see what happens. The first and most basic tool I was missing (while I was wearing my n00b research hat), is something that lets me visualize timelines – quickly, easily, and precisely.”
Again, easier said than done. I admit I’m baffled by some of his explanations of how to use the site, so I’m still exploring it and trying to figure out whether it can help us in the search for truth. My exploration of the search tool makes me think the site needs to tap into more JFK records. But I’m sure he knows that. He reports that he is adding documents to the database all the time with a plan to go live on July 4.
I’m a tech n00b and others may pick it up more readily. So give it a try and let me an Brian know what you think.
Click here to start exploring the JFK Timeline Project.