The numbers are already pretty staggering. The Internet Archive has grown since its launch in 1996 to encompass more than three million daily users and over 300 billion bits of video, music, book content and more.
Now, thanks to a $1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the TV portion of this San Francisco-headquartered archive will be greatly expanding. From this morning’s announcement:
Available at no charge, the public can use the index of searchable text and short-streamed clips to explore TV news. In this way, they can discover important resources, better understand context, verify facts and share insights. The research service does not facilitate downloading, but individuals have the opportunity view whole programs at the Internet Archive’s library in San Francisco or borrow them on DVD-ROMs…
TV news project director Roger Macdonald highlighted as an example, the recent use of the service by researchers at the MIT Center for Civic Media and Harvard’s Berkman Center, to uncover the role of television news in driving the evolution of the Trayvon Martin story.
In a blog post, Macdonald outlines an intriguing separate future scenario whereby the archive could be used to improve political TV ad accountability and transparency by pairing those spots with the FCC-mandated “public inspection files” kept by each broadcaster.
The TV news portion of the Internet Archive currently has 400,000 clips dating back to 2009 and keys its searches off the closed captioning.