Dust off a disc. Maybe it's video of a Bob Hope Christmas show, or maybe it's the Apollo 11 moon landing. Insert a blank disc. Duplicate.
It sounds monotonous because it is. But every time Liz Pruszko presses the start button on a DVD machine, she knows she is helping to unlock the thousands of videos tucked away in the National Archives.
"It just seems like such a shame to not have this content out there," Ms. Pruszko said.
When she says "out there," she is talking about the Web, where it might seem that every conceivable video clip of federal importance is already stored, just waiting to be searched for. That is far from true. But she is nudging the government in that direction.
Ms. Pruszko is a volunteer for the International Amateur Scanning League, an invention of the longtime public information advocate Carl Malamud. The league plans to upload the archives' collection of 3,000 DVDs in what Mr. Malamud calls an "experiment in crowd-sourced digitization."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects