While doing research for my print project, I looked for the best possible videos that most accurately reflected my topic, the Bay of Pigs. Although there were many videos that provided solid historical information, I was thrilled to find clips in the C-Span video library. C-Span, unlike You Tube, only provides videos that are political and historic. Thus, a researcher does not have to sift through the variety of videos that are found on You Tube, many of which are frivolous and devoid of any useful information, to find the topic one is looking for. Additionally, and more importantly, C-Span provides an abundance of clips and videos that serve as the web’s version of a primary source. For example, a researcher can find videos of news conferences and speeches given by John F. Kennedy following the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Below is a clip of Kennedy’s speech after the Cuban Missile Crisis. C-Span also allows the user to E-mail the clip, put it in a Tweet and put it on Face book to share with friends.
What I find compelling about the video clips, especially the news conferences, is that can I listen to questions that were asked at the time and how Kennedy answered them. In the news conference after the Bay of Pigs, for example, I can also see how Kennedy interacted with the press, what his mood was and how the press responded to him shortly after the Bay of Pigs became national news.
The next time you research a historical topic, I highly recommend checking out the videos in the C-Span library. It is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable historical resources on the web!