Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ubiquitous Knowledge: A Vision

The vision: a copy of all of the knowledge of humankind available electronically, everywhere - on every laptop, every USB key.

Why?

If ever anyone is cut off from communications with the rest of the world - whether due to natural or technical disasters, war or whatever - is it not ideal to have all of our knowledge ready at hand, to keep up medical services and perhaps figure out how to cope with such a catastrophe?

This vision, admittedly, goes beyond today's current emphasis on the immediately foreseeable horizon, the typical 3 to 5 year plan. No apologies, however! I think we all should think about envisioning the world centuries into the future, and planning accordingly.

In the shorter term, here is a thought, given this vision:

Why not look for LOCKSS partners in faraway regions? That way, if our region is devastated, our work is secure elsewhere. If a region splits from the world and is no longer willing to share, they will only be able to lock up current and future works, not past ones; this limits, at least a little, the potential damage that could otherwise be done by wars, whether of the fighting or trade variety.

Originally posted to Open Access Archiving

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