Four Seriously Cool Information Resources

As a librarian, researcher and frequent blogger, I’m constantly coming across incredibly useful online information resources that are most effectively searched using their own site search tools, rather than relying on general-purpose engines to surface their valuable content. I plan to start writing about these on a regular, ongoing basis, using a bullet-point format that highlights the most useful features of each resource, rather than doing in-depth reviews.

Without further ado, here are the first four (of many more to come).

C-SPAN Video Library

  • Cost: free
  • In three words, amazing, important, essential
  • With a few exceptions just about every program that have aired on C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2, C-SPAN3
  • More than 170,000 hours of content, back to 1987
  • Advanced search interface
  • Important to remember that C-SPAN carries more than what goes on in the Senate and House of Representatives
  • Hours and hours of author interviews, political rallies, interviews with newsmakers and journalists and much more
  • Most programs are full text searchable using mechanically generated transcripts
  • People search allows you to quickly see if a person has appeared on the network and then link directly to the program(s)
  • Example: Larry Page (he’s appeared on C-SPAN Twice)
  • Many programs are embeddable
  • Most programs appear in the archive within a day or two (if not sooner) of airing.
  • The C-SPAN Video Library won a prestigious Peabody Award in June

Old Maps Online

  • Cost: free
  • Officially launched last week
  • One search, centralized access to multiple digitized historical map collections
  • About 60,000 maps available today, with more than 120,000 maps by end of 2012
  • Keyword search, focus by date using slider, search by map
  • Material included so far:
    • A Vision of Britain through Time, Historical Map Library
    • British Library, Map Library
    • David Rumsey Map Collection
    • Moravian Library, Mollova mapová sbírka


  • Cost: free to search; fee for institutions to subscribe
  • Archive-It is a fee-based service from the Internet Archive that works with non-profits, schools, governments and others to crawl and archive sites and pages they specify
  • Many of the collections are available to all
  • Close to 1,700 collections currently available
  • Example: Archive of NASA Social Media
  • Collections are updated regularly with new material
  • Unlike the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, Archive-It collections are keyword searchable

Road 2.0: Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions

  • Cost: free
  • Provided by Duke University Libraries
  • More than 30,000 digitized images, with search/browse capability
  • Most images are of outdoor signs from between 1930s and 1980s
  • Advanced interface allows you to search by company, product and date

Related Topics: Channel: Video | Features: General | Search Engines: Government Search Engines | Search Engines: Other Search Engines | Search Engines: Photo & Image Search | Search Engines: Video Search Engines


About The Author: is a librarian, author, and an online information analyst based in suburban Washington, DC. He is the co-founder and co-editor of INFOdocket and and prior to that was founder/editor of ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. He has worked for Blekko,, and at Search Engine Watch where he was news editor. In 2001, Price was the co-author (with Chris Sherman) of the best-selling book The Invisible Web.

Connect with the author via: Email


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  • TammyLuck

    I gave up cable years ago, and the only thing I really missed was BookTv on CSpan (yes, I am a nerd). This blog post just gave it back to me!!!! Thank you!!!!!

  • PSissons

    oooh…these ARE seriously cool!!

  • Bob


    Great article. Love the new resources. FYI. The link for archive-it is accidentally linking to your Road 2.0 resource.

    Bob L.

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