Re: Information & Power /Alexandria library

Ross A. Finlayson (
Sun, 02 May 1999 23:39:22 -0400

Michael S. Lorrey wrote:

> Ross A. Finlayson wrote:
> >
> > The biggest threat to the entirety of regular Internet WWW functionality is DNS,
> > in terms of global connectivity, although any size of DNS names might be cached
> > anywhere.
> The entire DNS database is updated regularly on every web server at
> every ISP, so there is not threat to its being destroyed. Thats why they
> are called name servers. When you request a page from a site, your ISP's
> webserver looks up the DNS and its corresponding IP address, then
> queries the network for the data from that IP address. The routers take
> that query and send it to the next closer router, etc. The system does
> not query network solutions' registry every time.

Not to simply be contrarian, but one simple DNS bug can be seen to make DNS across large sectors of the Internet dependent on Network Solution's root nameserver break.

> >
> > 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.

I note specifically the availability of large quantities of uncopyrighted materials. These public domain materials warehoused in the interests of the public domain would be better if they were available to larger sectors of the public electronically.

In terms of a digital lending library, what's the difference between lending a hard-copy book and an electronic representation of same? Again, I say this partially to be contrarian, I'm not a librarian, and I do recognize copyright values and the rights to same, such as personal data copyrights.

If there was a way to ensure that a digital representation wasn't copied, for example a "black box" container and viewer, there would be little or no difference between lending a hard-copy and a digital copy, except that it would be possble to borrow a copy from a library far away much easier, and that such benefits as are provided by conventional libraries would be more widely available.

> >
> > Besides space debris, data overload and overflow is a very large problem. There
> > is very much. Early indexes of the net, for example, the Yahoo! server on
> > akebono, had wise notions of categorizing and cataloging large numbers of
> > Internet documents, and turned it into companies very high price-to-earnings
> > ratios.
> As long as storage media technologies continue to expand, and the speed
> of the processors processing the search index requests continue to grow,
> there will be no problem with overload and overflow. Developing filters
> for properly analysing lare amounts of data is a growth industry and
> shows no sign of abating.
> > Besides everything on paper, there is a huge amount of data on crumbling
> > magnetic tapes. The federal archives do tend to preserve that which is
> > important, but much data that might not seem so today is lost.
> 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.
> >
> > Such a catastrophe as befell the great Western store of accumulated knowledge
> > more than 2,000 years ago could not very well occur today, unless the face of
> > the planet was razed.
> On the contrary, several dozen high altitude, high flux nukes would EMP
> out much of our accumulated knowledge, which is why most government
> repositories are now built underground.
> Mike Lorrey

You are more or less absolutely correct, except for the paper libraries. The development of movable type four or five hundred years ago did lead to a large quantity of bound and printed dead trees.

Fight Big Brother! Preserve biodiversity!

Ross F.

Ross Andrew Finlayson
"C is the speed of light."