The digitization of television and video clips enables websites to create video archives housing years of recorded footage typically searchable by program or topic. While some websites are oriented toward popular entertainment, there are several which emphasize news and political recordings that are indispensable for backgrounding politicians and other public figures. Here is an overview of some of the best resources for searching for videos of interest. Open Source Sites: YouTube and the Internet Archive
The New York Times recently reported that activist Carl Malamud is working on another open government initiative (read about his other efforts to make public records freely available online here and here). Since December 2009, Malamud has been recruiting volunteers to the International Amateur Scanning League to put more government videos online. The volunteers copy DVDs from the National Archives and mail them to Malamud so that he can upload to a channel on YouTube and the Internet Archive. These videos, which range from presidential speeches to war footage, were previously available only in person at the National Archives or for purchase from Amazon's government partners. After the group has copied the National Archives' 3,000 DVDs, Malamud plans to devise a strategy for copying the remaining 200,000 videos in non-digitized formats. Malamud has said "I try to get the government to change by showing them what's possible;" the FCC recently proposed an official video archive at Video.gov as part of the government's national broadband plan.
C-Span Video Library and Congressional Chronicle
The New York Times also announced earlier this week that C-Span has finished uploading 23 years of footage to its free video library. Every program that has aired on the network since 1987, totaling 160,000 hours, is now available to stream online. The final 10,000 hours of footage from 1979 to 1987 will be added after it has been digitized as well. Viewers may opt to browse videos online by program type, program series, congressional committees, date or subject matter.
The footage includes Congressional video recordings, which C-Span has indexed with the written Congressional Record to create the Congressional Chronicle. Anyone can search the Congressional Chronicle by date (1979 to present), member or measure to simultaneously watch floor testimony and read the corresponding Congressional Record text.
MetaVid provides similar results to the Congressional Chronicle. The website archives the television broadcasts of House and Senate proceedings and makes them searchable by congressman, measure, key issues, legislative topics or involved interest groups. Search results include side-by-side video and Congressional Record text, as well as corresponding links to the testimony in GovTrack, THOMAS, and C-Span's Congressional Chronicle.
Pixsy's public search database has millions of videos and images aggregated from sources such as YouTube, major news outlets and local news sources in categories including news, sports, travel, entertainment and music. Search results can be filtered by source as well as more specific categories including politics, business news and world news.