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The National Archives on Google Video
February 25, 2006 9:37 AM   Subscribe

The National Archives of the United States and Google have announced a pilot project to digitize historic films and make them available via Google Video for free. The project's initial offering of 101 films include NASA documentaries on the spaceflight program, samples of United Newsreels from World War II, and early films from the Department of the Interior highlighting public works such as the construction of the Hoover Dam and the work of the National Park Service. Also of note is the earliest film in the National Archives holdings, an odd compilation circa 1894 containing Carmencita's Spanish Dance, boats being pulled upstream, people crossing a bridge, and Japanese women playing stringed instruments (on silent film, of course...) last link is direct to video, 2 minutes 46 seconds in duration
posted by edverb (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
*heart skips beat*
posted by phaedon at 9:48 AM on February 25, 2006


All in a lovely proprietary format. Shouldn't public libraries be doing this, instead of a private company?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:56 AM on February 25, 2006


Did anyone else read "the United States and Google" as an entire country name?
posted by TheGoldenOne at 9:57 AM on February 25, 2006


I read the two names as one. And they will be given time.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:59 AM on February 25, 2006


I can see the motto now: Pretend to do no evil.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:02 AM on February 25, 2006


Al all is worth it for that awesome video of Carmencita flitting about as though a chicken on a metal disc jumping because a shot of electricty sent to the plate to show the chicken "dancing." Golly. Is that lady available for a high school prom?
posted by Postroad at 10:03 AM on February 25, 2006


blue_beetle - Here is a tool for saving google video files, and there are links on that page to players + encoders into MPEG.
posted by shortfuse at 10:04 AM on February 25, 2006


No more driving 5 hours to College Park just to watch a dusty, 10 year old VHS copy of Iwo Jima landing.
posted by sswiller at 10:09 AM on February 25, 2006


Google video seems to be down. I get redirected to google.com. anyone else?
posted by Merik at 10:11 AM on February 25, 2006


OH NOES TEH GOOOGLE IS DIED
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:19 AM on February 25, 2006


Google is gonna be one of those corporations you see in science fiction movies. I can hear a calm, robotic female voice - "Welcome to your Google day. All your fears and desires are monitored to ensure compliance with GoogleLife standards. Please submit your GooglePrint after the tone."
posted by davebush at 10:30 AM on February 25, 2006


I would be much, much more excited about this if they were actually, you know, making the films available. What they are actually doign is making streams available.

And really, as I'm writing, I'm deciding that this is pretty much an un-qualified Bad Thing, because it functions as a sop, serving two purposes:
  1. Providing the illusion of the films being made available, and thus absolving anyone else of any perceived obligation to do anything;
  2. Providing cover for Google the next time they do anything "evil". [please note scare-quotes]
[1] has the added benefit detriment of providing a rationale for rejection whenever anyone files a grant proposal to accomplish actually making the films available digitally. "But they are available! Just go stream them on the web from Google...."
posted by lodurr at 10:40 AM on February 25, 2006


Um, you can download all of them.
posted by empath at 10:52 AM on February 25, 2006


wow , this may be the coolest thing i have ever seen on teh internets
posted by nola at 10:59 AM on February 25, 2006


If this is anything like normal videos on video.google.com, they're be downloadable in MP4 format, via the download for Video iPod and PSP options. The resolution is the same as the videos on the site, which isn't great.

Of course, I could verify this instead of talking out of my ass if I was able to get to the site, which I can't.
posted by zsazsa at 11:18 AM on February 25, 2006


They are also downloadable in the proprietary .gvp format, and play them with the free google video player.
posted by stenseng at 11:36 AM on February 25, 2006


Ok, I can get into the site now, and yes, you can download them in MP4 format.

This is an awesome resource.
posted by zsazsa at 11:38 AM on February 25, 2006


The National Archives of the United States and Google
Wait, they've seceded? Or is it USG instead of USA now?
posted by peacay at 11:50 AM on February 25, 2006


A one-stop shop, as it were, for ALL your U.S. propoganda.

Sweet!
posted by ryanhealy at 11:54 AM on February 25, 2006


This is awesome.

Or, in the proper fashion:

[this is good.]
posted by kaseijin at 11:59 AM on February 25, 2006


Also, if you fool google video into thinking you're on linux, (or if you're actually on linux) you can download the videos as divx-encoded avis.
posted by insomnus at 2:38 PM on February 25, 2006


lodurr: I would be much, much more excited about this if they were actually, you know, making the films available. What they are actually doign is making streams available.

Presumably the files are still available from the original public bodies, but now that Google has agreed to cover the internet distribution costs, the streams are more accessible than ever.

As for streaming vs downloading, with streams streams I a) don't have a specific player installed, and b) don't have to wait 8 hours on a slow connection (especially the longer clips). This is Google's business model: Make quality information easy to access and people will come. I don't understand why this isn't a win-win.
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:34 PM on February 25, 2006


All in a lovely proprietary format. Shouldn't public libraries be doing this, instead of a private company?


Um, they are .avi's, and you can click on the giant ass "Download" button to get them.
posted by reflection at 8:08 PM on February 25, 2006


The Internet Archive already has a very large collection of movies, including a great number of feature films. They have classics like Things to Come, Battleship Potemkin, His Girl Friday and some Laurel and Hardy.
posted by jiawen at 11:20 PM on February 25, 2006


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