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But this isn't what I meant when I wrote this essay a year ago. But before we get to that, keep in mind that libraries' patrons are consumers of libraries but they aren't its customers. The customers of a library are the municipal council, private backers and taxpayers. And in that sense, libraries are extremely expensive to build, own, operate and maintain, while providing very limited services to a small clientele.
So back to the question of what's a knowledge store. A knowledge store doesn't merely store information, otherwise it would be an archive. Nor does it provide access without providing storage, otherwise it would be a daily. A knowledge store is something that provides storage and organized access to knowledge. So you really can't separate the two.
Finally, the web is far from being the ultimate knowledge store. For one thing, it's extremely poorly organized with very limited searching capability. Google is a hack and a clunky one at best. There have been several proposals for knowledge stores far more powerful than the web will ever be. If the kind of knowledge store I have in mind ever got online, it would put out the publishing industry like a wet match.
There are these nifty new things called 'databases' and when combined with another recent invention known as 'subject headings' make it fairly easy to search through a library.
There's no guarantee that you'll be able to get a book you found.
One word, or rather acroynym - ILL
And having borrowed a book, you've committed yourself to returning it within a specified timeframe.
Computer renewals - until someone else requests the book, also from their desk. If I actually had all the books I've ever checked out of libraries my apartment would be wall to wall books.
Major libraries are one of the world's greatest treasures. But you're right, they are expensive.
What is wrong with the web are the inane Information Retrieval (sic) methods, as you point-out. Google is barely tolerable and only tolerable because everything else is even worse. Of the vaunted alternatives XML is a joke: a computer-based natural language processing system completely relying on a human to process the natural language input into the system. How's that again? And the great Semantic Web? ... pull-eeze spare me.
Crack the InfoRet problem and the world is gravy.
She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
The web is poorly organized because it maintains no distinction between Works and Bullshit. Nor does it have any concept of a Work, only of a "web page" which is a completely artificial construct.
If you put a novel online, there's no way to specify, in its full generality, in a machine-readable manner, that the novel is a single, individual Work. Instead, you must trawl through individual archives to specify this to each one, each in its own unique manner. This is called "posting the novel" and it is tedious.
The inability to search through all, for example, scientific works and ONLY scientific works, is a liability. So is the inability to specify a search through works which you have already read. Nor by their publication dates.
Could you say more about this? The nature of knowledge stores is vastly more important to the nature of society than almost anyone understands.
Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.
I was about to ask the same question.
Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
except I've been told it's not very descriptive
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