President Obama’s inaugural speech has generated some interesting examples of how technology can be applied to government information when the information is freely available for use and re-use and not locked into government databases or proprietary formats. It is a small piece of text with a lot of public interest and high visibility and, therefore, ripe for these kinds of demonstrations and experiments. Of course, to make use of the information, we have to actually have a copy of it. Imagine what would happen if all government information was actually distributed in open formats to libraries so that we could build collections that were index-able, search-able, visually browsable, and analyzable in interesting ways. Imagine freeing government information from its .gov silos and integrating it with non-government information in digital collections created for particular virtual communities of interest. Imagine the future of digital collections that are as easily re-usable as this small bit of text.
Check out these examples!
- Inaugural Words: 1789 to the Present, New York Times. “A look at the language of presidential inaugural addresses. The most-used words in each address appear in [an] interactive chart…, sized by number of uses. Words highlighted in yellow were used significantly more in this inaugural address than average.”
- Visual of the Inaugural Address, ProPublica. [Compare this to the NYT version. Stop words matter!]
- Search Inside Obama’s Inaugural Speech. Delve Networks. “We invite you to experience President Obama’s inaugural speech using our search inside technology. To do this, type what you’re looking for into the player searchbar above. A heatmap will show you where information related to your topic appears in the speech. You can move your mouse over the heatmap to see the matches. Click to jump to that place in the speech.”
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