Wednesday, December 31, 2008
“Universal access to all knowledge is within our grasp”
There is an interesting video on the TED website titled, "Brewster Kahle: A digital library, free to the world." The video is a presentation by Brewster Kahle, a digital librarian and inventor, who is working on building a digital library of every book, movie, and strata of web history in an effort to make everything that was ever meant for distribution available to anyone in the world. In the video, Mr. Kahle discusses his vision and argues that “universal access to all knowledge is within our grasp” and if accomplished it could be “one of the greatest achievements of all time." Mr. Kahle provides a look at the technological, political, and social aspects of achieving such a vision, and discusses his current scanning and internet archive initiatives. He also raises some interesting questions to think about as we enter into the new year. As we go digital, what is the role of public vs. private? Do we really want to live in a world where the public domain is locked up? How do we ensure that we will continue to live in a world where both publishing and libraries exist to benefit individuals, as they do today? For readers of this blog, we might add some of our own questions, such as: How do we ensure that we will continue to live in a world where retailers, such as college stores, exist to benefit individuals as they do today? What is the college store’s role in an environment where the content could be increasingly “free”? These are not questions we can wait to begin answering in 2-3 years time.