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Old 05-15-2006, 05:36 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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A universal library - such spectacular achievement is now possible

Kevin Kelly paints <free registration> a glorious picture of the ultimate library, already being created in a way. And he reminds us of the type of crowning achievement it would be for the human race.

"The dream is an old one: to have in one place all knowledge, past and present. All books, all documents, all conceptual works, in all languages. It is a familiar hope, in part because long ago we briefly built such a library. The great library at Alexandria, constructed around 300 B.C., was designed to hold all the scrolls circulating in the known world. At one time or another, the library held about half a million scrolls, estimated to have been between 30 and 70 percent of all books in existence then. But even before this great library was lost, the moment when all knowledge could be housed in a single building had passed. Since then, the constant expansion of information has overwhelmed our capacity to contain it. For 2,000 years, the universal library, together with other perennial longings like invisibility cloaks, antigravity shoes and paperless offices, has been a mythical dream that kept receding further into the infinite future."

He goes on to talk about how, for example, Google's scanning initiative and the technology currently available starts to make such an amazing feat seem actually within our grasps. If all the stars align, that is, so that DRM and IP law and other obstacles don't get in the way. The great library at Alexandria may have been destroyed by fire. What will stop us from another great universal library? Can it happen? Will it happen?

I hope so, but I think it's a long shot. The good news is that every step forward is an exciting development, and e-books and technology advancements are bringing amazing opportunities... like Project Gutenberg.

It's a wonderful time to be an (e-)book lover!

Via TeleRead and NY Times.
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Old 05-18-2006, 12:26 AM   #2
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Quote:
"The dream is an old one: to have in one place all knowledge, past and present. All books, all documents, all conceptual works, in all languages. It is a familiar hope, in part because long ago we briefly built such a library.
As long as by "in one place" he means "not all in one place", I'm all for it. Everyone wants to plant their own flag of fame in the sand, but that doesn't work in today's environment.

Look how miserably a place like Sourceforge failed, for example. When Sourceforge is down (estimates are 40% of the time now), thousands of projects become inaccessible to millions of users.

Provide one "virtual" place to obtain the information, one place where users are used to seeing it and go to get it, but virtualize it on the back-end, mirror it transparently across many countries and platforms, so it never becomes inaccessible to those users. Adding more servers in the same physical location doesn't help, it needs to be spread across countries and other physical locations.

The key here is delegation of the information to thousands of external parties, not control of the information in one place.
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Old 05-18-2006, 03:52 AM   #3
Alexander Turcic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hacker
Provide one "virtual" place to obtain the information, one place where users are used to seeing it and go to get it, but virtualize it on the back-end, mirror it transparently across many countries and platforms, so it never becomes inaccessible to those users. Adding more servers in the same physical location doesn't help, it needs to be spread across countries and other physical locations.
Amazon S3 comes into mind. New apps for S3 are coming out almost every other day. E.g.

ElephantDrive (beta) - unlimited storage for photographs, documents, music,
videos, and more.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.ht...t.aspx?ici=121

Jungle Disk (beta)- a cross-platform application allowing users to securely
store and backup files.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.ht...jungledisk.com

Altexa Backup - a data backup solution for Windows-based systems.
Automatically runs backup jobs for pre-specified data in the background.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.ht...p?sec=products
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