May 4th, 2004


The Great Library of Amazonia 

[A nice overview of the history behind Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" feature. ],1294,60948,00.html

The Great Library of Amazonia 
By Gary Wolf

Story location:,1367,60948,00.html

09:00 AM Oct. 23, 2003 PT

This story will appear in Wired magazine's upcoming December issue, 11.12.

The fondest dream of the information age is to create an archive of all knowledge. You might call it the Alexandrian fantasy, after the great library founded by Ptolemy I in 286 BC. Through centuries of aggressive acquisition, the librarians of Alexandria, Egypt, collected hundreds of thousands of texts. None survives. During a final wave of destruction, in AD 641, invaders fed the bound volumes and papyrus scrolls into the furnaces of the public baths, where they are said to have burned for six months. "The lesson," says Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, "is to keep more than one copy."

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