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FedFlix: putting the US Govt’s videos online

Public Domain superhero Carl Malamud has done it again! Public.resource.org has announced a joint venture with the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) (mmmm NTIS documents!!) to digitize their videotapes and deposit them in the Internet Archive. Carl’s announcement doesn’t say what kind of videotapes NTIS is offering up, but I’m assuming they’re coming from NTIS’ National Audiovisual Center (NAC) which “contains over 9,000 audiovisual and media productions … in occupational safety and health, fire services, law enforcement, and foreign languages. Information and educational materials include areas such as history, health, agriculture, and natural resources.” I hope Carl can confirm that. And I also hope he’ll send us titles/links every month so we can get them into library catalogs and into library users’ hands.

And I’d like to challenge libraries to catalog anything of interest to your local users that you find in the Archive — audio, video, text. If Carl can digitize 20 videotapes a month, imagine how many digital items the 60,000 libraries in 112 countries in the OCLC cooperative can catalog. In no time, libraries could catalog the roughly 600,000 items in the Internet Archive (206,890 audio, 104,076 video, 290,269 text). If each OCLC library catalogs 1 item/day, the job will be done in 100 days. So get to it, and thanks again Carl Malamud for being such an inspiration!

“Public.Resource.Org is pleased to announce a joint venture with the U.S. government’s National Technical Information Service, a program I’ve dubbed ‘FedFlix.’ Each month NTIS will send us 10-20 videotapes, which we’ll digitize, then send the tapes back. We’ll upload all this public domain data to places like the Internet Archive, and also give the NTIS a digital copy of their data.”

[Thanks BoingBoing!]

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1 Comment

  1. jrjacobs says:

    Carl emailed FGI with additional information:

    Just wanted to confirm, per your post … our NTIS deal is indeed for videos within the NAC. Under this arrangment, they’ll pick 10-20 convenient tapes (e.g., they have them in stock) and send them to us. We are, of course, still free to continue to purchase specific items like we have been in the past.


    I also asked he would accept title suggestions, but haven’t heard back yet on that. Be that as it may, I’d suggest that if you have a community of users that’d be interested in NTIS video, please do look through the collection and either contact Carl directly or leave title suggestions here in the comments and we’ll forward them. This is a golden opportunity to wrest control of some govt information into the light of the public domain. Get to it folks!

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