Norway to digitize entire contents of its national library

Credit: Emile Ashley

Even among us tech lovers, a good old-fashioned book can still be heartwarming. Especially if it’s hanging upside down from a bookcase. But the e-book has its own special niche, one we don’t disparage. For example, it’s pretty difficult to search traditional books for a certain phrase, and you’re not about to carry 100 of them around at once.And you definitelycan't carry around the hundreds of thousands of books that currently reside in Norway’s libraries. Luckily, soon, you won’t have to (not that you ever did).

The National Library of Norway has announced its plans to digitize all of its books by the mid 2020s. Every. Single. Book. In. Norway. (That’s in Norwegian.) Norway’s laws state “all published content, in all media, [must] be deposited with the National Library of Norway.” So we’re not just looking at published versions of Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey.

People in Norway can access all of this data (for free, obviously). Those trying to access are measured by their IP addresses.

Some of this stuff dates back to the Middle Ages, and this will be the first time in history a regular citizen can (easily) search through all this data to find whatever information they require. Can you imagine how easy writing papers will be for Norwegian schoolchildren? It’s totally unfair. Or how many interesting sociological experiments could be conducted when you have your entire country’s recorded media on file?

We’ll see. In Norway, at least. America isn’t anywhere close to doing something similar, which (to put it lightly) is a real shame.

Via The Atlantic

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