This last Sunday the New York times ran an article by Kevin Kelly about the future of books and the business model of print. I’m telling you that it’s a must-read:
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.
People constantly talk about how it is that we can aid other countries. We send them advisors, guns, money, cows (a la the Heifer project) and many other things that they may or may not want. Why is it that we can’t consider giving them access to a library containing the sum total of human knowledge also a sort of aid? What will education mean once you can have all that source material at your fingertips?
It’s a project that’s achievable with today’s technology.