is Sherman had an interesting post in Searchenginewatch about a Wired article on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s goal to make every book ever written digital and searchable. While they’ve been working on it awhile, there’s still an immense amount of information to digitize. Chris also talks about the ephemeral nature of the web and wonders if the search indexes could help reconstruct seemingly lost web pages by retrieving crawled versions from their cache.
Almost since the beginning of recorded history, man has dreamed about collecting all the world’s knowledge in one place. Perhaps the closest we ever came was the Library of Alexandria. That was over 2000 years ago. It’s estimated that the Library held over 500,000 scrolls. Today, Google is scanning about 1,000,000 books a year, and that only represents 5% of all the books in print. Obviously, the task is larger than ever, but we may also be closer to realizing it than ever before!