Churchill's legend lives on

YOUR article about the Churchill archives mentions fleetingly the possibility of "transferring everything into computer memory". In fact, a computer system could not only store the documents, but also greatly enrich the archive. By means of appropriate "document imaging" techniques, the entire archive can be indexed to a depth which is totally impractical for paper, photocopies or microfilm. Individual documents can be "linked" permanently to any number of other related documents and all of the documents can be available all of the time to several researchers simultaneously. Storing copies in computer systems means that the intellectual content of the archive is secured against catastrophic loss because back-up copies can easily be kept at several sites. All this could be achieved today for a fraction of the amount spent just on transferring the ownership of the original documents. A photocopier might indeed have done just as well, but a document imaging system would have done better.

Marc Fresko

Ipswich, Suffolk