Alexis Madrigal – The Atlantic: “The National Library of Norway is planning to digitize all the books by the mid 2020s. Yes. All. The. Books. In Norwegian, at least. Hundreds of thousands of them. Every book in the library’s holdings. By law, “all published content, in all media, [must] be deposited with the National Library of Norway,” so when the library is finished scanning, the entire record of a people’s language and literature will be machine-readable and sitting in whatever we call the cloud in 15 years. If you happen to be in Norway, as measured by your IP address, you will be able to access all 20th-century works, even those still under copyright. Non-copyrighted works from all time periods will be available for download. Here in the States, we are struggling to make even a small percentage of English-language works accessible to the citizens of our fine country, despite the efforts of groups like the Digital Public Library of America, Hathi Trust, and (I dare say) Google. Which means that we are not ready for the apocalypse. But the Norwegians, that’s a people preparing for the deep future. Now they are home to the Svalbard Seed Vault and they will have all the books stored away.”
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