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C-Span Gives Political Junkies 160,000 Hours of Video to Explore

Via this post on Computational Legal Studies I learned today that C-Span has placed virtually every minute of its 23 years of video archives on the Internet. The New York Times reports that the "C-Span Video Library," which goes back to 1987, is now available to the public. The archive is fully searchable, and will be formally announced by C-Span on Wednesday.

Political junkies now have more than 160,000 hours of C-Span footage to explore. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow told the Times that the library is “like being able to Google political history using the 'I Feel Lucky' button every time.”

Although few cable networks would be willing to make their entire archive available for free on the Internet, C-Span founder Brian Lamb said doing so was an extension of the network's public service commitment. “That’s where the history will be,” he said.

Blogger Ed Morrisey told the Times the archives were so vast that finding valuable material might be like looking for a "needle in a haystack.” C-Span executives say they hope the search filters on the archive will help with that issue.

I'm no politico, but I gave the search engine a try to see if I could quickly find some of my favorite recent Congressional moments. Let's see ... searching for "Fuld" ... ah, yes! There's former Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld being skewered by Congress following the collapse of the investment bank.

OK, what else can I find ... let me see if I can find where that great statesman Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., declared last year, "I want to know who is responsible for protecting the securities investor, because I want to tell that person or those people whose job it is that they suck at it.” Bingo -- by searching for "Ackerman" and then searching the transcript of the correct hearing for "suck" I quickly found this statement (at almost exactly the 120 minute mark of the video below). Thanks, C-Span! Good stuff.

Posted by Bruce Carton on March 16, 2010 at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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