Ask not what YouTube can do for you…

U.S. Government Channel YouTubeYouTube continues its transformation from blooper archive to legit online video resource with the new U.S. Government YouTube channel. Like YouTube EDU, which we blogged about just a month ago, this new channel is meant to aggregate more serious videos (in this case of the government persuasion), making them easier to find within the abundance and variety of videos available on YouTube.

Currently, the U.S. Government channel’s strength is not in the number of videos it offers (as of Thursday, May 21st, it has just one: “New Media Across Government”), but is rather the videos it links to in its favorites and playlists sections, and “other channels” list.

Other Channels
The other channels the U.S. Government YouTube channel links to are of departments and agencies within the government. So far this list includes:

Playlists
Within the playlist section, the government channel organizes videos by topic (like Benefits and Grants; Defense and International; and Environment, Energy, and Agriculture), and selects videos from a range of agencies and departments that cover these topics. Here are links to all the current playlists:

How useful this site is and will be to historians and history educators in the future is yet to be determined. But the central portal nature of the channel and how well it’s organized is encouraging, and if improved on and added to, this channel could become an excellent resource.

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  1. Kelly Woestman

    I’m wondering if it will take historians creating their own channels and organizing video (and other new media) according to their own metadata for this technology to be widely integrated into our other historical resources. This would be just like we organize our own bibliographies of books and articles but on a different scale since the numbers of resources will ultimately be much greater and require historians to work more collectively.

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  2. James A. Jacobs

    Another question is who will preserve these videos and make sure they are usable in the future. Questions about format, licensing restrictions, ability of archivists to capture streaming video from .com’s, and if the government will recognize its role as a producer of information and deposit information into reputable depositories for preservation (such as the Federal Depository Library Program) are all unanswered questions. See http://freegovinfo.info for more on this issue.

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