Sunday, May 14, 2006

Scan This Book! - New York Times

Scan This Book! - New York Times: "Brewster Kahle, an archivist overseeing another scanning project, says that the universal library is now within reach. 'This is our chance to one-up the Greeks!' he shouts. 'It is really possible with the technology of today, not tomorrow. We can provide all the works of humankind to all the people of the world. It will be an achievement remembered for all time, like putting a man on the moon.' And unlike the libraries of old, which were restricted to the elite, this library would be truly democratic, offering every book to every person."

Outstanding and timely article -- read the whole thing. Another excerpt:

"From the days of Sumerian clay tablets till now, humans have "published" at least 32 million books, 750 million articles and essays, 25 million songs, 500 million images, 500,000 movies, 3 million videos, TV shows and short films and 100 billion public Web pages. All this material is currently contained in all the libraries and archives of the world. When fully digitized, the whole lot could be compressed (at current technological rates) onto 50 petabyte hard disks. Today you need a building about the size of a small-town library to house 50 petabytes. With tomorrow's technology, it will all fit onto your iPod."
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