Kahle envisions the book archive less like another Library of Congress (33 million books, according to the library’s website) and more like the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, an underground Arctic cavern built to shelter back-up copies of the world’s food-crop seeds.
This guy started out by trying to collect every webpage in existence, and now he’s trying to grab a copy of every book ever printed. Brewster Kahle clearly isn’t short on big dreams, and while I admire his goal the scope of the project is kind of… unattainable.
Still, I love the idea of trying to hold on to as much printed material as possible. In this digital age, books and newspapers and all sorts of other delightful, ephemeral wonders are slowly becoming obsolete, a fact which terrifies me. I love the feel of a well-read novel between my hands. It’s comforting.
Some people respond to that with just a strong emotional feeling. You are suddenly connected to something that is really old and takes you back in time.
Peter Hanff, Acting Director of a Really Awesome Library at Berkeley
It’s like that.
And while I remain sceptical about the practicality of his goal, I think the effort is no less than admirable.