C-SPAN Video Library

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C-SPAN Video Library
C-SPAN Video Library screenshot.png
Screenshot as of January 9, 2011
Type of site
Public affairs video streaming
Available in English
Owner C-SPAN
Website http://www.c-spanvideo.org/
Registration None
Launched March 17, 2010 (2010-03-17)[1]
Current status Online

C-SPAN Video Library is the audio and video streaming website of C-SPAN, the American legislative broadcaster. The site offers a complete, freely accessible archive going back to 1987. It was launched in March 2010.

Available content[edit]

The site provides access to C-SPAN's collection of Congressional proceedings and other political and public affairs programming, including complete archives dating back to 1987. Content is searchable and browsable by program, topics, date, and speaker. At its launch in 2010, the site offered 160,000 hours of archived programming. New programming is archived shortly after broadcast.[2][3][4][5]

C-SPAN was launched in 1979 but has limited archived material from its early years. When the site was launched in 2010 its director Robert X. Browning said 10,000 hours of tapes from 1979 to 1987 were slated for restoration, digitization, and addition.[3][6]

Congressional Chronicle is a section with searchable transcripts of House and Senate floor debates and pages for current and past members of Congress, with biographies, voting records, campaign finance records, and a timeline of House and Senate sessions.[7] The site also provides episodes of Book TV and Booknotes, its now discontinued series of author interviews.[3][8] In addition to C-SPAN programming, the site provides access to certain historic videos from the National Archives, such as video from President Nixon's 1972 trip to China.[5]


Journalists and opposition researchers have used the site to locate past statements by politicians. Three sources used it to locate clips and information about Christine O'Donnell during her failed 2010 Senate bid.[9]

Political commentator Rachel Maddow is a prominent fan of the site. She said having access was "like being able to Google political history using the ‘I Feel Lucky’ button every time."[3] Mediaite columnist Frances Martel called it "a landmark in government transparency" and said it was valuable for historical research.[4]

In September 2010, the site was awarded the Golden Beacon by the Association of Cable Communicators,[2] and in May 2011 it was recognized with a Peabody Award.[10]


C-SPAN has recorded and catalogued its coverage of Congress and other public affairs programming since the establishment of the C-SPAN Archives in 1987 at Purdue University's Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana.[11] However, prior to the Video Library's launch, C-SPAN's archived programming was only available to the public via videocassette and DVD purchase from C-SPAN; with the approval of the network's board of cable industry executives, the online archive was developed to make C-SPAN content more immediately accessible.[6] The C-SPAN Video Library debuted unofficially in August 2007, with hosted video streaming and limited search tools. The following year, C-SPAN added an embeddable player to the Video Library's website.[12] The full archive officially launched March 17, 2010,[1][12] upon completion of a multi-year project that digitized C-SPAN programming from 1987 onward.[2]


  1. ^ a b "C-SPAN's Online Video Library Now Open to the Public" (PDF). C-SPAN. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Reynolds, Mike (16 September 2010). "ACC Awards Golden Beacon To C-SPAN's Video Library". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d Stelter, Brian (15 March 2010). "C-SPAN Puts Full Archives on the Web". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Martel, Frances (16 March 2010). "C-SPAN Online Archives Will Redefine Social Studies Education in America". Mediaite. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Raasch, Chuck (25 March 2010). "Changing the way we view history". CommonGround. Gannett News Service Multimedia. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Weddle, Eric (24 March 2010). "C-SPAN Archive puts history's raw copy on the Internet". Journal & Courier. Lafayette, Indiana. 
  7. ^ Fusaris, J. "C-SPAN Congressional Chronicle". University of Connecticut School of Law. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Congressional plus: C-SPAN's archives are online (Editorial)". New Hampshire Union Leader. Manchester, New Hampshire. 28 March 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Kurtz, Howard (23 September 2010). "C-SPAN's blasts from the past". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  10. ^ 70th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2011.
  11. ^ Godfrey, Donald G. (2006). Methods of historical analysis in electronic media. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-8058-5186-1. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "C-SPAN Milestones". C-SPAN. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 

External links[edit]