RE: Information & Power /Alexandria library

=?iso-8859-1?Q?Karsten_B=E4nder?= (
Mon, 3 May 1999 17:37:29 +0200

> > For all works in the Library of Congress to be transcribed into
> digital form and
> > made available on the Internet would be a wonderful thing, and
> would do much to
> > expand the breadth of human knowledge, and I might even term it
> a just use of
> > tax dollars. To be sure, there are copyright issues involved,
> but any number of
> > uncopyrighted works or those whose copyrights had expired could
> be put online.
> > If one can go to a library and check out a copyrighted work for
> free, why not
> > over the Internet? It will certainly enhance inter-library
> loan when more
> > material is available for electronic request and delivery.
> Use tax dollars to pay for the wholesale ripoff of millions of people's
> copyright rights? I don't think so. It will have to be a pay as you go
> system, with micropayments for each use of copyrighted material.

Oh yeah, and here we are again - information only for those whoe are able to pay. I do not want do be considered Socialist - my mother comes for Eastern Europe and I had the chnace to wittness the spirit of a Communist Dictatorship myself - but Information is something which should not be kept this way. Your copyright is kept by not allowing anyone to falsify it, but it should be available freely - anywhere. You know, lack of information and communication is one of the main causes of poverty. Manhattan has more telephones than the entire African continent. Most of Africa is still in the stone age, mainly because there are a whole lot of people who do not want a change to this. You want it to remain this way?

But to keep you capitalists happy: The state might pay you some bucks if the information you provide is interesting enough so that the public interest is served with the publication of the information in question.

Think logical, we'll have to get away from this capitalist way of using information. We need the synergy effects of the mass availability of information, when and wherever it is needed. The non-availability of information is in fact a typical trait of any hierarchy. Information means power. If you control the flow of information, you control all people who get the information (or not). This is not keyed to a 1984-style dictatorship, it works with any form of government, up to and including a democracy.

Take for example the american war of 1863. Haven't you been taught that it was fought to free the slaves? I was told this, too. But no country ever fought a war out of humanitarian ideas. That war was fought because the North would not tolerate the decision of the South to make an independant state. It was an economic war, the industrial north against the agricultural south. The same is true for the second world war. You wouldn't want to tell me the US entered the war because of the fate of the Jews? Or that Britain and France entered the war because of the fate of Poland? Bullshit. It was simply a question of distribution of power. Much the same is true for Zaire/Congo. The old dictator - Mobutu - was a French puppet, the new monkey dictator - Kabila - is remote-controlled by the US. Of course, a democratic state would never do such evil things. Of course, humanitarian ideals are held very high within a state who respects the human rights and the politics are streamlined accordingly. Of course no politician gives a penny for these empty words. As long as they keep this information for themselves and no one gets really involved, this works fine.

> Most information on tapes is raw data, lists of names, numbers, etc.
> Magnetic tapes, stored properly, do not crumble or otherwise degrade
> easily. I am still using 9 track magnetic tapes that are older than I am
> on a regular basis for list processing operations.

Wrongo, BASF conducted a test which concluded, that even under ideal storage circumstances, 100% reliability is guaranteed only five years. Your 9-track magnetic tapes still work because they store a huge stream of analog data. Your ears have a built-in noise-reduction which screens out most of the bad audio data that comes in. But gradually, the quality of these recordings will fade. In adio recordings, the quality simply gets worse. In data tapes, it gets lost, because eventually, the errors destroy too many bits of data, making an error correction impossible. Much more with the high-packed data tapes of today.

I visited a large picture library some years ago and was surprised to see that most of the color photos were transferred to black-and-white diapositive films. This is simply because over the time, the colours eventually fade and change. If you look at a photo from the early sixties, you'll notice some strange colour defects. After all, the chemical process doesn't stop whne the picture leaves the lab. Today, this practice hasn't changed - only that the pictures are stored in digital form too, this time in colour.