[via New Media Musings] Doug Kaye, the host of ITConversations.com has announced details of his new non-profit venture which is an extension of the excellent work he has been doing at ITConversations.com by providing us access to audio recordings of superb conference sessions, lectures and talks that we would never have access to otherwise.
Some of the talks I've really really enjoyed on ITConversations.com are Clayton Christensen's talk on Capturing the Upside, Malcolm Gladwell's talk on Human Nature, Brewster Kahle's talk on Universal Access to All Knowledge and Joseph Chamie's talk on Population and Demographics. Here's how Doug Kaye describes his new venture in his own words.
Every day there are scores or even hundreds of fascinating and important conference sessions, lectures or other presentations that are lost. They simply evaporate because no one captures or records them. Some of these presentations are by the greatest and most inspiring minds of our time, and many could be important to people in the far reaches of the planet, if only they could hear them.
My new project is to capture (record) all of these presentations, post-produce them, and make them available worldwide for free.
To record tens of thousands of events each year, we will appeal to the social conscience of the worldwide army of podcasters – 10,000 today, and 25,000-50,000 within a year – who I believe will be enthusiastic about the opportunity to give back to their communities and to the world. As a side benefit, these “podcaster stringers” will hone and extend their skills and build their reputations in ways that could benefit them financially and otherwise.
We will build an online “dating service” that will match podcasters with events in their communities. Likewise, we will recruit volunteer writers and producers to create and edit the metadata and descriptions that accompany the recordings. Content will be managed, and quality will be maintained, by a Wikipedia-like system and community. High-volume content will be delivered by a combination of BitTorrent and partners such as the Internet Archive.
We will cover not just IT or even technology, but literally every topic about which someone speaks and another person finds it valuable enough to capture.
You can also listen to an hour long interview with Doug Kaye (mp3, 20.8 mb) where he describes what he did before he started ITConversations and what he plans to do with his new venture.
Doug Kaye's idea really warmed the cockles of my heart. Everytime I go to a speech or a talk, I have been trying to write up a blog post about the speech, apart from trying to get my hands on a transcript of the speech/talk and link to it on my blog. All these posts are listed on my blog, Prayatna, under the category titled Speeches. My friend, Badri, has been doing the same, but he blogs in Tamil on his blog ThoughtsInTamil.
Some years ago, I used to read a small magazine published in the U.S. called Vital Speeches of the Day which did something similar by publishing transcripts of speeches, but it featured only a few select speeches. I wanted to do something like that in India someday. But what Doug Kaye is proposing to do with minimal cost using Wikis and help from some technology partners, to make available content for free to the end user is amazing. The impact of making available the vast amount of content, on the advancement and spread of knowledge, is going to be huge. Imagine being able to listen to, and learn from the experts and best speakers on any topic. Of course, the signal to noise ratio is likely to be quite low, with lots of speeches and lectures being very poor and only a few that are really good, but the few good ones will automatically bubble up to the top quicky and get noticed.
In the Indian context, we need to organise lots of speeches, especially in all Indian languages, and also record them and disseminate them widely. A people hungry for knowledge would benefit tremendously. Today, with the widespread availability of CD/VCD players and the growth of FM radio, community radio and the Internet, such audio content can be distributed widely across India.