Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Co-Founder and President of Technology Sergey Brin today announced the launch of a pilot program to make holdings of the National Archives available for free online. This non-exclusive agreement will enable researchers and the general public to access a diverse collection of historic movies, documentaries and other films from the National Archives via Google Video as well as the National Archives website.
What would be really nice is high-res access to *all* the material. Right now, if you want, say, a high-res photo in the archives taken from the Korean War, you've got to find out where it is in the archives, then pay some third-party company to pull it out, scan it, and send you a CD-ROM. If the intent was to keep most citizens from having access, it's a very successful program.
I wish there was a law that said once private individuals were paying, collectively, more than a million dollars per year for some kind of government data (created by taxpayer dollars), then the government has to just go ahead and make that data available online for free.