House.Resource.org Launches

When I was writing my critical thoughts about the Facebook streaming videon of the opening of the next session of Congress, I will admit I had Carl Malamud and his efforts to get the US government to include digitization and access as a built-in part of how they do business. The news that one of his many projects has launched couldn’t be better timed, to drive the point further home.

Today, we are announcing a new site, House.Resource.Org. This site contains today over 500 hearings we obtained from C-SPAN from the proceedings of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Under an agreement reached with Chairman Darrell Issa and Speaker of the House John A. Boehner, we are now in receipt of several hundred more high-resolution files from 2009 and 2010 hearings that will be loaded on the site. In addition, the Committee has agreed to furnish us with high-resolution files from all hearings in 2011, which we will be posting on a weekly basis. Note that this is not a real-time service, we are posting big files after-the-fact.

Carl’s efforts are admittedly more focused on archiving and access than necessarily live broadcast but he does have a solid background in real time streaming. The efforts here also span YouTube, the Internet Archive and C-SPAN, clearly enough combined capacity to provide for live events as well as after the fact access.

I don’t want to further minimize Carl’s achievements by continuing to dwell on the inadequacies of the Facebook arrangement. Clearly what Carl has done is much more comprehensive, not just garnering support on both sides of the aisle but also tapping engineering talent at YouTube to make these congressional committee videos as valuable to librarians, archivists and the general public as possible.

The second hack is something we are doing that leverages some amazing work being done by the YouTube engineering team. In many cases, we’ve been able to take the video of a hearing and mash it up with the official GPO transcript.

Please read Carl’s announcement for an example of the transcription mashup and along with all the other details of this great project.

House.Resource.Org, Carl Malamud at O’Reilly Radar

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