Is It Time For A Federal Scanning Commission?
from the yes-we-scan? dept
We just wrote about the move by the House Oversight Committee to put hours upon hours of archive footage of hearings up on YouTube, led by Carl Malamud, who (we noted) is always working on interesting projects to make government data more accessible. Carl Malamud, himself, wrote in (actually, before we posted that other story — so he must have known we were about to write about him!) to alert us to another project he’s working on: trying to get the government to create a Federal Scanning Commission, to focus on scanning tons of government content and putting it online. As he says:
Locked in our federal vaults is a tremendous storehouse of information that if digitized would form a core for our digital public libraries in America with huge benefit for our country: cutting costs in the Federal government, creating jobs throughout America, and revolutionizing how we educate our citizens, how we practice the law, and how we create news, art, and scholarly works.
Imagine if the riches contained in the National Archives, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Government Printing Office, National Library of Medicine, National Agricultural Library, National Technical Information Service, and scores of other federal organizations were made available, becoming the core of a national effort to make access to knowledge a right for all Americans. The dream is a big one, but if we do not begin the questions of what it would take to get there, we will never start down that road. Today, we don’t know what it would take.
There’s also one of those White House petitions to go along with this program… This would be a big project, but it seems like one government project that would be worthwhile.