The Library of Congress may be the largest library in the world, containing millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts, but a website is striving to be the world's largest internet searchable index.
Brewster Kahle, whose stated goal is "Universal access to all knowledge," has created Internet Archive, an online searchable database inspired by the Library of Alexandria.
The archive, which has already digitized millions of books and is trying to collect everything published on every web page for the last 15 years, is now adding news broadcasts to its database. As of Tuesday, the archive’s online collection includes more than 350,000 separate news broadcasts, all of which have been produced in the last three years. Currently there are 20 different news channels represented which encompasses more than 1,000 news series.
Newton Minow, former FCC chairman had this to say about the archive: "The Internet Archive's TV news research service builds upon broadcasters' public interest obligations. This new service offers citizens exceptional opportunities to assess political campaigns and issues, and to hold powerful public institutions accountable."
Kahle told the New York Times the archive was not just for researchers. Everyday average citizens make up part of the website’s estimated two million daily visitors. “We don’t expect this to replace CNN.com,” he said. The intention of the archive is not to replace or compete with the Web outlets owned by the news organizations". In fact new material would not be added until 24 hours after it was first broadcast.
With news broadcasts currently available from 2009 to the present, Kahle's plan is to “go back” year by year, slowly adding news video going back to the start of television. That plan will take some innovation however since the use of closed-captioning on a regular basis did not start until around 2002. Kahle believes it can be done, but it will prove challenging. He told the New York Times: “We need some interface that is good enough and doesn’t interrupt commerce enough that they get upset with us.”
Kahle said the service is free to everyone and his ultimate goal is to "collect all the books, music and video that has ever been produced by humans.”