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5 June 2010, 06:00
More than a million World War Two documents from Bletchley Park are being put online.
The code breaking centre's teamed up with Hewlitt Packard to scan and digitise the records, in a project which is expected to take between three and five years.
Hardly anyone's been able to see the documents before, because they're too delicate to be handled. They only exist in paper format, and date back to the 1940's. Until now only limited access has been allowed to the archive by academics and educators under strict supervision.
But soon, thanks to this project, people across the world will be able to view them.
The records which are being put online include communication transcripts, memoranda, photos and other material tracing some of the most significant events and people of the war.
Simon Greenish - the Director at Bletchley Park - told Heart they don't know exactly what they're going to discover, but gave one example:
"There's books and books and books of information, and record cards and all sorts of things here. But we have, for example, some of the information to do with the D-Day landings and the double cross that went on using the double agent Garbo. So we've got the original material for that."
The code breaking carried out at Bletchley Park during the Second World War is credited with reducing the length of the conflict by at least two years.
Mr Greenish said:
"This is part of the whole story - it's taking the whole story forward. We need to put Bletchley much more in the public domain and the archive is just part of that. It's a wonderful archive and of course everybody's interested in the story of codebreaking and what went on and here it is. This is original material."
Bletchley Park has been given the equipment to enable the project to go ahead by HP. A team of volunteers will now be assembled who will be trained how to use it and how to get each of the different documents online.
It's thought access to the records will be made available in stages over a number of years. Access to the content will be through a combination of paid-for and free content.