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If we go by access to information then the cost of just going to a library can be prohibitive. Especially so if you nurture a few lazy bones in your body. Libraries are rarely up to date when compared to web archives of fiction. Searching through a library always takes more time and is vastly more difficult since there's no way to search by a book's contents. There's no guarantee that you'll be able to get a book you found. And having borrowed a book, you've committed yourself to returning it within a specified timeframe.

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.

by richardk (richard kulisz gmail) on Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 06:41:17 PM EST
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