Google wants to do book searching as well.
Hopefully Google will have better artistic sensibilities than what Amazon returns as a 404 when you try to look inside a book after they turned off that feature temporarily. (See normal 404.. although what the hell is that dog doing there anyway?)
Good post related to this on actsofvolition.com a while back: Universal Access to All Human Knowledge. Brewster Kahle (i.e. Internet Wayback Machine) gave a really amazing talk about digitizing the entire Library of Congress. Most of them are beyond copyright restrictions, and there are roughly 26,000,000 books that could be digitized. His description shows that it's possible to digitize the entire thing and have it searchable. Imagine if Google took on that project!
I was part of a proofreading team that helped catalog just the Civil War map collection of the LOC. It took, well, half of forever. I can imagine the sound of one hand clapping more easily than I can imagine manually entering every book in the LOC. Scary stuff (and just in time for Halloween, too).
The fear of death is the beginning of slavery.
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