International Amateur Scanning League

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Public.Resource.Org is pleased to announce that the inaugural
meeting of the International Amateur Scanning League is taking place February 11, 2010.
The meeting is taking place at the

Sunlight Foundation
and we are very pleased to welcome special guests
the Honorable David Ferriero,
Archivist of the United States, and senior staff members of the National
Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

The NARA facility in College Park, Maryland has a wealth of
information available to researchers, including over 1,500 DVDs
that are works of the government and can be freely copied using a
DVD duplicator. NARA is kindly allowing us to install a second DVD duplicator
for use of Scanning League members, who will systematically copy those
1,500 DVDs, place them in a FedFlix return envelope, and send them
back to Public.Resource.Org. These DVDs will then be uploaded to the
Internet Archive,
and our own
Public Domain Stock Footage
These 1,500 new videos will join over 1,300 videos currently
on-line that have had several million views and were the result of a
joint venture with the National Technical Information Service as well
as from numerous other government agencies who sent us tapes and DVDs.

FedFlix Return Envelope

The International Amateur Scanning League is an experiment in crowd-sourced
digitization to help government and other institutions make their archives
more widely available. Volunteers will be given credit for their work in the on-line
will receive cool tchotchkes, and will be eligible to display Public
Domain Merit Badges upon completion of designated levels of service.

Bob Hope Merit Badge
The initial group of volunteers was the result of an organizing effort
by CopyNight members
Justin Grimes,
Thomas ‘cmdln’ Gideon, and
Liz Pruszko
and by
Michael Edson, a new media specialist
in the civil service at another
agency acting on his own and not in an official capacity.
At the organizational meeting, volunteers will be taught by the Archivist
how to copy DVDs and will self-organize to coordinate time slots when
they will be at NARA and to keep track of which DVDs have been ripped.
Those interested in participating should begin by
to the IASL discussion list
where coordination details will be
hammered out.

Justice Sotomayor Merit BadgeKatherine Graham

Edison Merit Badge
As part of the inaugural meeting of the IASL, a variety of very cool
tchotchkes and support materials are being made available to volunteers,
including stickers from CafePress, DVD transmittal forms from MOO,
FedFlix return envelopes from ActionEnvelopes, posters from Zazzle,
banners from Vistaprint, and brochures from QOOP. When citizens help
make works of the government more broadly available, this leads not only
to increased access by the public but a host of commercial opportunities
for print-on-demand, DVD sales, and other value-added operations.

Georgia OKeefe Merit Badge
The extremely cool artwork for this launch, including the Public
Domain Merit Badges, the FedFlix logo, and the IASL logo, were all
created by
Point.B Studio. We’re especially
pleased to be able to present to the Archivist as well as to the U.S. House
and Senate committees that oversee the Archives mounted canvas prints
of the Public Pomain Merit Badges. (As always, all our artwork is
freely available if you
want to make your own prints.)
A special authenticated edition of the Justice Sotomayor print will be dispatched to the
Supreme Court of the United States in the hope that delivery will be accepted.

There are a variety of models for public-private partnerships. It is
our hope that the International Amateur Scanning League will pave the
way for a host of new initiatives that will help us all make the
public domain more accessible by crowd-sourcing digitization of government
archives. These efforts are not meant to replace private sector efforts, and
certainly do not alleviate the need for government to step up their own
digitization initiatives, such as the establishment of a
Scan Center.

Duke Ellington Merit Badge

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  • Nahum Gershon

    This is a great idea that potentially will benefit us all. I live in the DC area and used on-site NARA services in the past, so in that sense, compared with citizens in far-away locations, I’m spoiled. This public-private partnership in scanning NARA documents will help bringing the information to everybody, everywhere, and at any time.

    I am in particular excited about this partnership since it will involve the public in preserving the information and furthermore, it will help foster the creation of new information from the old.

  • Murray A. Valenstein

    Is there an index listing by topic of DVD’s already downloaded to NARA and available for purchase?

  • Robert H. Williams

    Great project!
    I’m hoping that something similar can be brought
    about to deal with public access to laws (state and federal) policies and the like. Surprisingly it is still very difficult to bring together say, the FMLA or something of the sort from its various sources. Although openly available, in cases such as this a citizen must scour the Federal Register, state law, and other sources to get it all together in one usable piece! Far simpler would be a mandate to publish, scan and distribute everything in .pdf, .doc and .txt , *complete* in one easily accessible format so a person could then download it and use it for whatever purpose.

    Not every citizen can make multiple trips to a law library, use (pay big member fees) for services like Lexis/Nexis and such. In any event, great job, and thanks very much.

    Have A Healthy, Prosperous Day!

  • Rain

    Thank you very much for your work. It is great that you are doing suc a good thing for people who are eager to know more and also that you put so much efforts to make your organization so large. I wonder if there is any chance that you will ever work with vinyl records. I like them so much. As for me, I’m fond of music. I usually download a lot from music search but there isn’t there old records which would play as they did it 50 years ago. And it is a pity that we will never hear that old pleasant sound.

  • Is there an index listing by topic of DVD’s already downloaded to NARA and available for purchase?