bee Those of us who spend a lot of time online tend to feel that we’re more informed than those that get their information from the TV, radio, and magazines. I’m beginning to feel that’s a false sense of security. Here are four examples of content we’re missing:

  • Conference Transcripts: Several of the bloggers I read have been at the O’Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference, and have dutifully tried to keep us up to date on the important news from it, and link us to the slide decks, but presentation slides just don’t do it. Full transcripts are not available.
  • Hard-Copy-Only and Unarchived Analysis: The New Yorker and other periodicals contain critical analysis. They have on-line versions, but they’re incomplete (the longer analyses are missing) and the archives are only available for a limited time. 
  • News Analysis and Educational Programming: Public broadcasting stations like PBS, NPR, CBC, BBC have news analyses and educational programs whose content is not available on the Internet. One of my most popular posts, Facing the Dragons was based entirely on a program on Canadian educational channel TVO. And I still get regularly Googled by people looking for the text of Charlie Rose’s interview of Fareed Zakaria , which I wrote about.
  • Live Performances: Barbaric Yawp is currently acting in an amateur theatre presentation. I’d like to be able to buy a copy of any live theatre performance, or at least get a copy of the script of plays, including tele-plays.

Many people think it’s unreasonable to expect educational institutions, public broadcasters, conference organizers and magazines to provide the full archival text and transcripts of all their articles, programs, lectures and presentations online. But is it? The technology certainly exists to do this, and server space is not the cost constraint it once was. Of course, we shouldn’t expect to be able to access this for free. But the blogosphere provides a critical mechanism for us to hear from others what is, and is not, worth plunking down some cash for. And there are technologies that prevent the first person that ‘buys’ pay-per-use content from giving it away free to others.

So, content aggregators of the world, get on it! This is really no different from reading a review of a book/music/movie and then ordering it online and picking it out of the mailbox the next day (and soon, downloading it right over the Internet). But we don’t want to be limited to this ‘pre-packaged’ content — we want to be able to buy transcripts of anything, especially exemplary content like that described above that isn’t available anywhere else. And there’s money in this, for the cash-starved universities, conference presenters, theatres and public broadcasters, as well as the enterprising intermediary. There may even be money in this for entrepreneurial on-line reviewers like us, who others trust to tell them what content is worth the investment.

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  1. melissa says:

    Just to let you know i found this great place to make holiday cards. They are usually like $20 but free if you click on this link. I am going to put my christmas letter and favorite family picture in them for christmas cards this year. If your interested

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