Old friend, Brewster Kahle, did a recent talk at the Library of Congress which is now online. Brewster is exuberant and ready to digitize the entire Library of Congress using perhaps his 300 page per minute digitizing scanner which is already in use in Toronto. He’s also talking about the Internet Archive’s Bookmoblie which is a print on demand van. Cost per book from the van is about $1. Harvard says it costs $2 per book to loan it. So why not print from the van?
Brewster discusses the problem of books that are out of print but still covered by copyright. These constitute what he calls “orphan” books since you cannot access them in any way.
Brewster is exuberant about the tape-trading groups like eTree.org having offered his “unlimited disk space online forever” to them and to about 700 bands for concert tapes.
A bit about the Archive’s video/music collections and the bandwidth they require. Especially Rick Prellinger’s archive. Rick saw a 40% increase in sales and eventually sold his collection to the Library of Congress after giving away movies on the Archive. Brewster is excited about Lego movies too. Lectures etc.
This is Brewster at his very best. A lot to tell and he tells it well. Each visionary musing is tied to a real ongoing and possibly do-able project at a fairly large and international scale.
The series, which has a link to the talk, is called “Digital Future” will also feature Ed Ayers, Larry Lessig, Brian Cantwell-Smith and others.

Here’s a direct RTSP link to Brewster’s talk.

Leave a Reply