The C-SPAN Video Library launched last week, opening up access to an amazing reference resource for students, journalists and anyone interested in history and government. This includes over 160,000 hours of political and public affairs events covered by the C‑SPAN Networks since 1987, free, well-organized, searchable, and easy to share. For example, embedded below is the first day of the Scalia Confirmation Hearing, in which Justice Scalia responded to questions about his views on federal-state relationships, the Constitution, death penalty, abortion, national security versus individual rights and more.
I particularly like the way they tag people who are included in each video, and provide a biographical page for each person that includes elected offices, Congressional committees, etc. For example, from John McCain’s page we can see that he’s in 1,645 videos (including 735 Congressional floor days), see the totals for each year, see which committees McCain has served on and how many videos are related to each committee, see who else appears in videos with McCain and even subscribe to an RSS feed of recent appearances.
If you want to explore the archive, you can just jump in and search for a person or event or topic, or you can start by browsing through this list of Memorable Moments from the Video Library which includes an interesting assortment of videos related to campaigns and elections, war and peace, scandals and some of the lighter moments on C-Span, like this 1995 video of comedian Chris Farley’s surprise visit to the House Republican Conference where he impersonated Speaker Newt Gingrich: