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Donald Rumsfeld to Unveil Career Archives

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly 2,000 documents from Donald Rumsfeld's tenure in politics, dating back to his early days as a congressman in the 1960s, will be available for public consumption on Tuesday, the day his memoir, Known and Unknown, hits bookshelves.

The extensive archival collection took four years to digitize and compile and was paid for by the former defense secretary himself.  It will be featured on  Users will not only be able to search for documents by category or timeframe, they will also be allow to click on documents that Rumsfeld cites in his book -- all 1,300 of them.

Rumsfeld, a controversial figure who started his public service career as a congressman in 1963, has always had a keen interest in keeping close track of his documents.

He kept a detailed record of every vote he cast in Congress, and dictated notes on the decision behind that vote.

In the White House, first as President Gerald Ford's chief of staff and then President George W. Bush's defense secretary, Rumsfeld continued, carefully maintaining all his memos and notes from presidential briefings.

The archives specifically focus on three aspects of Rumsfeld's public service career: His voting record in Congress, his time in the Ford and Nixon administrations, and the Sept. 11 attacks and the eventual U.S. attack on Iraq, which has made Rumsfeld one of the most controversial public figures in recent decades.

The collection includes a diversity of documents, from Rumsfeld's own reflective memos, to more formal, contextual papers about policy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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