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Encyclopedia > Universal library

A universal library is a library which contains all existing or useful information or knowledge. This ideal, although unrealizable, has influenced and continues to influence librarians and others. A modern-style library in Chambéry A library is a collection of information resources and services, organized for use, and maintained by a public body, institution, or private individual. ...

Contents

History

The Library of Alexandria is generally regarded as the first library approaching universality, although this idea may be more mythical than real.[1] It is estimated that at one time, this library contained between 30 and 70 percent of all books in existence.[2] In the 17th century, the ideal of universality continued to be attractive. The French librarian Gabriel Naudé wrote: The Royal Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt was once the largest library in the world. ... Gabriel Naudé (February 2, 1600 - July 10, 1653) was a French librarian and scholar. ...

And therefore I shall ever think it extreamly necessary, to collect for this purpose all sorts of books, (under such precautions, yet, as I shall establish) seeing a Library which is erected for the public benefit, ought to be universal; but which it can never be, unlesse it comprehend all the principal authors, that have written upon the great diversity of particular subjects, and chiefly upon all the arts and sciences; [...] For certainly there is nothing which renders a Library more recommendable, then when every man findes in it that which he is in search of ... [3][4]

In modern times the ideal of a universal library expresses itself in digitization projects, such as Carnegie-Mellon's Universal Library[5] or the European project Bibliotheca Universalis. However, many technical and legal problems remain for the dissemination of all possible knowledge on the Internet.[2] Bibliotheca Universalis is a project by several national libraries that aims to put major works of worldwide cultural and scientific heritage comprising text, images and sound, at the disposal of the general public using communication and information technology. ...


The universal library in fiction

Science fiction has used the device of a library which is universal in the sense that it not only contains all existing written works, but all possible written works. This idea appeared in Kurd Lasswitz's 1901 story The Universal Library and Borges's essay The Total Library before its more famous expression in Borges's story The Library of Babel. Such a library, of course, would be as useless as it is complete. It is a pessimistic opinion that the Internet already approaches this state.[6] Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Jorge Luis Borges (August 24, 1899 – June 14, 1986), was an Argentine writer who is considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century. ... The Library of Babel (Spanish: ) is a short story by Argentine author (and librarian) Jorge Luis Borges, conceiving of a universe in the form of a vast library containing all possible 410-page books that can be composed in a certain character set. ...


See also

The European Library==References== A digital library is a library in which a significant proportion of the resources are available in machine-readable format (as opposed to print or microform), accessible by means of computers. ... At the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2004, Google introduced its Google Print service, now known as Google Book Search. ... ibiblio (formerly SunSITE and MetaLab) is a collection of collections, and hosts a diverse range of publicly available information and open source software. ... Internet Archive headquarters. ... This is a list of projects related to digital libraries. ... The Open Content Alliance is a consortium of non-profit and for-profit groups which is dedicated to building a free archive of digital text and multimedia. ... Project Gutenberg (often abbreviated as PG) is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute cultural works. ... Virtual Libraries are a libraries that consist only of resources available in a digital format, which can be accessed locally - stored on a hard disk - or through computer networks - public or private. ... Bibliotheca Universalis is a project by several national libraries that aims to put major works of worldwide cultural and scientific heritage comprising text, images and sound, at the disposal of the general public using communication and information technology. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... The European Library is a library portal for searching the databases and open public access catalogues as well as for accessing the digital content of European national libraries. ...

  1. ^ Abstract, The Alexandrian library and its aftermath, Uwe Jochum, presented at the Second Anglo-German seminar on library history, The universal library: from Alexandria to the internet, London, September 1996.
  2. ^ a b Scan This Book!, New York Times Magazine, May 14, 2006.
  3. ^ Advis pour dresser une bibliotheque, Paris, 1627, translated by John Evelyn as Instructions concerning erecting of a library, London, 1661, pp. 19–20.
  4. ^ Abstract, C. G. Heyne and the university library at Göttingen: from 'Universalbibliothek' of the eighteenth century to the 'Sammlung Deutscher Drucke', 1701-1800, Graham Jefcoate and Gerd J. Boette, presented at the Second Anglo-German seminar on library history, The universal library: from Alexandria to the internet, London, September 1996.
  5. ^ Universal Library website.
  6. ^ The Internet and the revival of the myth of the universal library, Miroslav Kruk.

External links

News Articles

  • Microsoft To Join Book-Search Alliance (October 26, 2005 International Herald Tribune]
  • Science & the Digital Divide (October 21, 2005 Science magazine editorial - PDF)
  • In Challenge to Google, Yahoo! Will Scan Books (October 3, 2005 New York Times article)
  • Building the Universal Library (May 18, 2005 Search Engine Watch)

Blog Posts

  • The Universal Library and Other Book Digitization Projects (Search Engine Watch)
  • Yahoo! Search announcing Open Content Alliance

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