There’s an article in this morning’s New York Times about a new move by Google. Boiled to its essence, Google wants to convert everything at Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and the New York Public Library to a digitally readable form and index all of it. That’s just the beginning.
I ‘read’ the Internet a lot. I am constantly learning from new sources, and I am careful about my sources. Often the most readily available source is not the best source, or sometimes it’s just plain wrong (the Internet does not have fact checking built in). The number of urban legends which are taken at face value on the net is astounding.
For researchers, knowledge freaks and high school students writing term papers this new addition will expand the available ‘good’ knowledge available from home. I’m sure there are copyright problems which will have to be sorted through, but this seems to be the logical extension of the library in the 21st century.