The National Archives and Google are teaming up to allow unprecedented access to historical film properties for free with just the click of a mouse.
Through a pilot program, U.S. archivist Allen Weinstein has collaborated with Google Video to compile an online library of 103 films, including movies, documentaries and other cinematic creations formerly unavailable to those who can't make the trip to Washington, D.C.
"This is an important step to achieve our goal to become an archive without walls," Weinstein said. "For the first time, the public will be able to view this collection of rare and unusual films on the Internet emphasizing the importance of providing access to records anytime, anywhere."
The diverse assemblage of titles can be accessed via Google Video as well as the National Archives website. They range from U.S. government newsreels documenting World War II to NASA-produced documentaries on the history of the space program. The earliest film preserved in the archives, 1894's "Carmencita -- Spanish Dance" featuring the famous Spanish gypsy dancer, also is included.
"Whether in San Francisco or Bangladesh, students and researchers can watch remarkable video such as World War II newsreels and the story of Apollo 11 -- the historic first landing on the Moon," said Sergey Brin, co-founder and president of technology at Google.
Other historic films in the collection include documentaries from the 1930s showing the founding of the national and state park system in America and the creation of Boulder Dam.
Formed in 1934, the National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency serving as the nation's record keeper.
The project is part of a more expansive effort by the search engine Google to make written and multimedia works from public and private libraries available online. The films join the increasing number of titles available on Google Video including CBS television shows, Charlie Rose interviews and NBA games.
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