Internet Archive collects, streams TV news archives

internet archive

Most people use the Internet Archive to find out what the Web once looked like.

But now the site has an additional function: TV News Search & Borrow, which stores a collection of 1000 national news shows with some 350,000 individual programs dating back to 2009. The site will continue to add new programs 24 hours after they air.

The new project is meant to “help the American voter to better be able to examine candidates and issues” before the November presidential election, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle told the New York Times. Fox, CBS, PBS, CNN, and other national news networks will be represented, as will local newscasts from stations in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

brewster kahle
Brewster Kahle

Candidates are often able to disavow previous statements, but the Internet Archive’s collection is preserving speeches for posterity. Want to know what President Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney said three years ago compared to what they’re saying today? Search the collection using key words and dates.

Kahle told the Times that the site uses closed-captioning technology to collect text and render the programs searchable. Kahle said he plans to eventually archive all news shows throughout television history, but closed-captioning has only been in use since 2002, which means making those programs searchable will be more challenging.

The $12 million TV News Search & Borrow program was funded in part by Kahle with grants from the Library of Congress, the National Archives and other foundations, according to the Times.

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