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Toward Universal Access to All Knowledge
Apr 14th, 2009
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Nikko I & II
Session Type: General Session
Advances in computing and communications mean that we can cost-effectively store every book, sound recording, movie, software package, and public web page ever created and provide access to these collections via the Internet to students and adults all over the world. By mostly using existing institutions and funding sources, we can build this collection as well as compensate authors within the current worldwide library budget.
Technological advances, for the first time since the loss of the Library of Alexandria, may allow us to collect all published knowledge in a similar way. But now we can take the original goal another step further to make all the published works of humankind accessible to everyone, no matter where they are in the world.
Thomas Jefferson's statement that "All that is necessary for a student is access to a library" may be an exaggeration, but access to information is a key ingredient to education and an open society. Will we allow ourselves to reinvent our concept of libraries to expand and to use the new technologies? This is fundamentally a societal and policy issue. These issues are reflected in our governments' spending priorities, and in law.