Digging around some back woods newsgroups for bits of codec lore to solve a random challenge a couple of weeks ago, I ran across a post by someone at Metavid and I found the project intriguing. It seems that the video proceedings of the house and senate are public domain (as they should be), and Metavid is capturing these cable broadcasts and encoding them into a free video format (free as in liberty, free as in beer).
Search their archive for your favorite member of congress. This ain’t no YouTube — their aspirations for discourse aim higher than that, and you can see that this is still a work in progress. They are working on a wiki interface for video annotation and browsing. The video is worth downloading and checking out. Here’s a screen shot:
This interface would allow the great multitudes to annotate and transcribe the video to facilitate easy text searches. They have a snazzy auto-complete widget for specifying speaker names that even includes a headshot image. I also like the vertical timeline, color-coded by speaker, which allows navigation through time.
I can’t wait to play with it live.