About 6 months ago, C-Span unveiled its long-awaited online video library, which includes all of their programming–ALL of it, 160,000 hours and all transcripts–since 1987. I had a chance to hear Howard Mortman, C-Span’s Communications Director, talk about this project and give a demo at a recent Media Future Now event, and he spoke about all the different groups who would benefit from a fully searchable video library. Among these beneficiaries, advocates and public affairs groups. So what exactly can a library do for us, and for the citizens of this country?
One of the most important things that libraries give to a modern democracy is the provision of information access to all people. Books in a library are categorized and cross-referenced so that anyone can find them. After all, a library without a database or a card catalog is just a pile of books.
Then the World Wide Web came along, and it was a revelation to information seekers. But as the Web grew to gargantuan proportions, effective search engines became more important than ever.
Maybe you see a theme forming here. The existence of information is important, yes. That’s the reason C-Span was founded in the first place 30 years ago. The documentation of the political process lends transparency and, theoretically, accountability to the government.
But combine this with the Internet and a great search engine, and you witness what gives information its true power. Anyone with Internet access can go there, see the videos, and most importantly, search by topic, speaker, tag, title, date, etc. And with a few exceptions, the content is considered public domain and can be used by everyone. This is what we mean when we talk about democratization.
Still wondering what this has to do with us? Watch Jon Stewart arrange video footage to document John McCain’s shifting positions:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
Email Elena Berger to find out how Amplify can help you with your next video project.