quasi in rem

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Real Digital Divide

The New York times has a very interesting article entitled: "The Coming Search Wars" detailing the coming conflict between Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft over search engine uses.

The article is pro-Google, and there is no real reason why it shouldn't be, but it is never really a good idea to bet against Darth Gates. but the most interesting part of the article is this:

"The company has also been pushing hard to find new sources of information to index, beyond material that is already stored in a digital form. In December, it began an experiment with book publishers to index parts of books, reviews and other bibliographic information for Web surfers.

And Google has embarked on an ambitious secret effort known as Project Ocean, according to a person involved with the operation. With the cooperation of Stanford University, the company now plans to digitize the entire collection of the vast Stanford Library published before 1923, which is no longer limited by copyright restrictions. The project could add millions of digitized books that would be available exclusively via Google. "

The reason why it is interesting to me is that it demonstrates the vast resources which are doomed never to be accessed by today's youth who rely almost exclusively on web and web based resources fopr research now. Basically if anything was written before 1994, it doesn't really exist on the internet. As long as the copyright laws remain strong, and they will, this divide will continue to exist between things that are published 80 or 95 years ago and 8 or 9 years ago.

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