The video clip above is pretty amazing — and not just because of the sweet ushanka worn by George Herbert Walker Bush, or the fact that President Obama included the “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off” reference that I suggested eleven days ago.

No, the amazing thing is some new technology from MSNBC, touted tonight in their “First Read” blog: Inaugural first: Explore video in a new way.

Read that post for a full description, or go straight to inauguration.msnbc.com to see this new “Explore” feature in action.

In short, it allows you to select text side by side with its corresponding video, in order to isolate a smaller portion, the way I did with the “pick ourselves up” segment of President Obama’s inaugural address, above.

I have sometimes frowned at the way news sites use video. They often throw daunting batches of assorted clips online without text or context and basically dare you to watch it all to find what you’re looking for.

In MSNBC’s new “Explore” feature, however, I’m starting to see how video could come a little closer to the searchable, quotable, usable ubiquity of text. Exciting stuff.

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