Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

An amazing story of the process that has been the complete digitisation of every written book by Google, and the likely chance that you will never be able to access them.

During my holiday this week I read “Change is Good” after backing it on Kick Starter last year. It’s a story of the wild west internet days in the late 90’s before the dot-com crash. The story follows the IPO of a fictional search company called GNUhere and is told from many points of view. The reason I mention this, other than it’s a great book, is that GNUhere’s goal was to make a better, more connected, and more educated world. This is what I used to this Google was trying to do, and I hope is still their ultimate goal

You were going to get one-click access to the full text of nearly every book that’s ever been published. Books still in print you’d have to pay for, but everything else—a collection slated to grow larger than the holdings at the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of Michigan, at any of the great national libraries of Europe—would have been available for free at terminals that were going to be placed in every local library that wanted one.

An excerpt from Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

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