The Universal Library

Simon Chester reaches out from Edinburgh (forcing me to remember how to spell it) to point me to an article in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine, “Scan This Book!” by Kevin Kelly, honcho at Wired Magazine (and maker of one of my favourite sites, Cool Tools). Kelley reports on the various initiatives that are underway around the world to digitize all of the world’s books — literally. We’ve touched on them from time to time here at Slaw… Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive, Google’s troubled efforts, Amazon’s plan… but Kelley also talks about the Chinese enterprises and the Million Book Project of one academic at Carnegie Mellon etc. etc.

Law, with its smaller, discrete corpus, has been ahead of the game in this digitizing movement, so we might not be as astonished as some. Even so, it behooves you to take a look and understand the scope of the enterprise, and to see the role that law itself plays as an obstacle, if you will.

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