Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The wonderful Open House project has a post up of a video presentation by open government pioneer Carl Malamud on his Washington Bridge project given at a Google Tech Talk on May 24, 2006.

There's also a web page for the talk that includes a business plan for the venture. The idea was to provide streaming archived video of Congressional committee hearings.

I haven't been able to find anything recent about the proposed plan, however since then he has sent an unsolicited report to the Speaker of the House on streaming committee data and on August 3rd provided an update that does look promising:

... The analysis of this short-term solution by the Advanced Business Solutions unit has concluded: “from a technical stand point we now know this is very easy and inexpensive to do.”

3. As a long-term strategy, the Office of the Speaker has conducted a large number of meetings, as has the Committee on House Administration, the Chief Administrative Officer, and several other groups. There is a concrete, funded set of initiatives to finish the wiring of the rooms so that all hearings have video coverage, and it is clear from a technical point of view that it is possible to achieve the goal of broadcast-quality video for download on the Internet by the end of the 110th congress. The recommendation to adopt that goal is currently awaiting action from the Office of the Speaker and the Chairman of the Committee on House Administration.

The thing that's really interesting about the video is how the Google people (25' in) latch onto the problem that fascinates me the most: annotating real time data streams. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to listen to my collection of old time radio shows let alone watch everything that is going on in Congress. How do I make it easy for the public to collectively annotate information in real time so that it can be easily processed and reused?

It's hard as hell to annotate video and unless video is annotated it's hard as hell to leverage it with automated tools. You need to be able to make a media clip start at a specific moment rather than playing the whole thing. You need to be able to easily sync up the video and transcripts using some sort of marker. I'd like to be able to drag it onto my blog editor, and have it automatically embed the clip at that point as well as add default folksonomy. Beyond that synchronized transcripts so that I can do quick quotes. As he points out the transcripts are out there but they take months to be made available to the public if they ever are. How do we synchronize video and audio to transcripts so that people can easily quote from it?

We need tags that work against a common ontology so that everyone is working off of the same page. When I say HR1515 am I talking about Representative Harris Fawell's amendment to the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the 110th's Congress' bill to amend the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 or the Georgia General Assemblies bill honoring the life of Linton Webster Eberhardt, Jr ?

Ideally websites and tools should take care of those headaches for people. For instance... if I drag a bill in Thomas onto my blog editor, it knows that that is the one I am writing about, grabs the embedded meta-data from the page, and ads it as a folksonomy tag.

1 comment:

Chris Baker said...

Man, I'm all over the place.