As of today, you can look up video of any news program from any of 20 television channels broadcast in the last three years, thanks to a new initiative by the Internet Archive designed to eventually “collect all the books, music and video that has ever been produced by humans.” The search function uses closed-caption data to help identify particular programs and segments. Because — like everything else on the Internet Archive — the video is available for free, it’s now much easier for non-researchers to follow up on what certain guests, such as politicians, really said about a certain topic.
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What’s the Big Idea?
The Internet Archive has been quietly collecting Web page data since 1996. Founder Brewster Kahle says he was inspired by the ancient Library of Alexandria, which at its peak was considered the greatest repository of human knowledge in the world. Today, the site boasts 9000 terabytes of data, and it’s not stopping there: “The plan is to ‘go back’ year by year, and slowly add news video going back to the start of television. That will require some new and perhaps more challenging methodology because the common use of closed-captioning only started around 2002.”