Google to give you knowledge at your fingertips

There are a lot of initiatives that are pointing the way toward an acceleration of the world’s knowledge repositories coming online. The first that hit my radar was MIT OpenCourseWare initiative that placed 500 courses in to open source. In theory this will facilitate  development of courseware that other institutions can use and holds the promise of placing education intellectual property in to the public domain.

Now there’s been an announcement from Harvard University Library that they’re going to collaborate with Google on a pilot project to digitize many of Harvard’s 15 million volumes in their university
library system. According to the release, Google will launch similar projects with Oxford, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the New York Public Library.

With other projects like Brewster Kahle’s innovative Internet Archive (the site is at: WaybackMachine.org) being positioned as “universal access to human knowledge,” we’re well on our way to collecting and building access to content and knowledge and have it available at humankind’s fingertips.

There are multi-lingual issues to deal with, taxonomies and metadata models to figure out, access business models and cost structures to understand and manage as well as a user interface and builder model that allows people to collate and assemble all of this content in to meaningful delivery. A way that goes beyond simple hypertext links from blogs like this one.

Getting this stuff online is the first step…but the most important step. Here is an interesting CNN Money article about this: Google, libraries hook up for Internet project – Dec. 14, 2004.

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About Steve Borsch

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