Ted Tuesday- Brewster Kahle on building a global digital library
It’s that time of the week again – Ted Tuesdays! If you’re just tuning in to my weekly series here’s the deal: I love TED. I watch one of the talks every day. Each week, I pick my favorite one and post it up here, to see what you think about it. Hopefully it sparks your interest, and you can share your thoughts in the comments section below. A few people have taken to dropping me an email, and that’s fine too!
So far we’ve heard talks from:
Today’s talk is from Librarian Brewster Kahle and his mission to digitize all content. He dreams of having every piece of content (all movies, books, software, videos, television, sites) available for free to everyone and anyone who wants to view it.
Why You Should Watch
Brewster Kahle is building a truly huge digital library — every book ever published, every movie ever released, all the strata of web history … It’s all free to the public — unless someone else gets to it first. Brewster Kahle’s stated goal is “Universal access to all knowledge,” and his catalog of inventions and institutions created for this purpose read like a Web’s Greatest Hits list. In 1982 he helped start Thinking Machines, a supercomputer company specializing in text searching, and would go on to invent the Internet’s first publishing and distributed search system, WAIS, whose customers included the New York Times and the United States Senate.
I think the issue of the availability of information is going to become an increasingly important issue. We saw some of the implications with Roger’s traffic shaping, and the lawsuits that have come up against people using copyrighted clips online. I myself am feeling the impact when trying to decide which book reader to purchase, both Amazon and Sony have developed proprietary formats that only work on their readers (although Sony lets you read .pdfs)
What does this mean for us as we move towards migrating a lot of that content online? What is the solution?
My Favorite Part:
I love that he is offering unlimited storage forever and for free to whoever has something that they want to share. It is so important to build the systems to facilitate the easy and free sharing of information.I also love the shots of the kids around the world, some who have never owned a book before that moment. I also like the idea of having that content be the fodder for new creations. Mixing and mashing new materials. We already do this now in terms of movie and song remakes at least people would hopefully be better educated about the origins of what they listen to!
Can you imagine one day being able to access every book, movie, video, site, software every created from your book reader? (Or whatever device we’re using then)
I think that would be incredible. Kahle says that digitizing the universal knowledge base could be the greatest accomplishment of man. What do you think?
How could we make something like this sustainable? Profitable?
More importantly, should it be a public or private financed venture? What roles to corporations play in this effort and how would that impact the ownership of the results?
Even if content companies get on board, what about the distribution platforms? Will the Rogers of the world be willing to meet this higher demand? Will they want to?
Check out the Internet Archive’s Wayback machine that lets you view snapshots of websites from over the years. Try finding the a what Google looked like when it was still in Alpha.