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Comment Re:Surreal paper trail (Score 3, Interesting) 21

There were a few issues that we never got resolved. You'll notice much of the communications is one-way from me to them and while there are a few answers, but some things just get ignored. The big one was an offer we made to do 7 mbps multicast of all 24 channels of House video onto the Internet2 backbone so everybody could get into the archiving business. They decided they'd rather go with a unicast ("webcast") solution provided by the Library of Congress at lower resolutions with no access by the public to the archival data. The second issue was giving us half the archive to process then cutting off the flow of bits. The third issue is fixing how they do closed captions and handle transcripts. I'm hopeful they'll take the ball and run with it at the Committee on House Administration and the various other parts of the House that deal with these issues, but it was disappointing that they didn't want to work with us and let us continue the pilot program we had started and expand it.

Submission + - A Federal Scanning Commission? (

Carl Malamud writes: "John Podesta and I have written an open letter to President Obama, accompanied by a White House petition, calling for the creation of a Federal Scanning Commission. The group would be tasked to figure out a strategy to scan at scale, vastly increasing the scope of federal digitization efforts to include large parts of institutions such as the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, Government Printing Office, National Archives, and our national libraries."

Submission + - Bittorrent interface to .gov data in bulk (

Carl Malamud writes: "Through the judicious use of wget, we've accumulated an archive of 5.1 million PDF pages representing the major databases of the U.S. government. These include the Federal Register, the Congressional Record, Presidential Papers, and Public Laws. This data was previously only available for high retail fees or through a decade-old WAIS [sic] interface for the public. We're making the data available as tarballs with http and bittorrent interfaces up now, rsync and ftp coming rsn.

The cool thing about this is that for years, people have been telling the Government Printing Office that they should provide their data in bulk for free. The answer has always been "good suggestion, please send us a memo." But, it turns out if instead of telling the GPO they should do the work you simply inform them that you're going to harvest their database using their existing interface, they say "go for it" and assign a technical team to talk to in case you have any questions. Never hurts to ask!"

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