Web 2.0: Brewster Kahle

Web 2.0: Brewster Kahle

: Brewster Kahle arguing that “universal access to all knowledge is possible.” Well, drat, I have to run out for a few minutes and I’ll miss universal knowledge. I’ll pick it up on another blog.

He says there are 26 million books in the Library of Congress, the largest in the world; more than half are out of copyright. That’s 26 terabytes of data that would cost $60k to store. He said it costs about $10 to scan a book. He’s working with a company in Toronto to get robotic help. So the cost is $260 million to scan the LOC.

He says that Google announced this morning that they’re going to digitize books.

I’ll link to somebody else who has the rest. Later.

  • Kris

    This is the end of academic control of knowledge. Academics will be exposed to fact-checking by bloggers and specialists. Their biases and assumptions, lousy sourcing, poor conclusions and dreadful writing will be grist for the blogosphere. Frankly, I can’t wait. Just think: all those unemployed wannabe academics nursing their grudges on the margins of the academy as adjunct faculty — they’ll want to see this house of cards fall. They’ll put their intellects to work for less. And ordinary, educated people won’t have to get their information filtered through the academy. They’ll go right to the primary sources. Poorer and more isolated people will have the same access as the wealthier, and better situated.
    In the best of all possible worlds, the cost of education will plummet as access widens. People will be able to do research and work away from urban university centers. Writers, researchers, cultural critics and academics can live in remote, rural and cheaper environments and have the same sources, albeit digitized, as their urban counterparts.
    Rathergate is a cultural blip compared to the potential of universal access to information. This is a revolution. Everyman and Everywoman is a potential scholar!
    The truth sets us free only if we have access to it. And now we do.

  • Vicar

    I don’t think access to information is going to overcome people’s tendency to ignore it. I mean I love the idea of sitting around researching things for curiosity’s sake, but I have this silly ‘ol job to keep me busy.
    One thing people often gloss over is that media ages, sometimes poorly. Hope they include good data-checking and backup storage provisions with this digitization scheme.
    It sounds like a step in the right direction though!

  • I’m not sure I understand why the “bloggers’ revolution” emotions are so closely tied to anger at academic, or journalistic,”control.” I mean, yes, digital capability is further democratizing information. The Internet has for a long time been allowing more people to access more information–which is great.
    But is this really the end of “the academic control of knowledge”? Why fear academics? Anyone who uses and interprets knowledge and the surrounding world can be considered academic. Will people who access their information digitally NOT be considered academics?
    As for “universal access to all knowledge” being possible…this has been a goal long approaching. But I think many people misinterpret what that means. We already have enough access to information to boggle most people’s minds. Access is very important, but what is even more important is filters. Just because we have access to information does not mean we can make sense of it, use it, or even find it.
    Academics are people who filter. So are bloggers. So are newspaper reporters. So are librarians. So are the average viewers of the nightly news.