File /Humanist.vol22.txt, message 641


From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty-AT-mccarty.org.uk>
To: humanist-AT-lists.digitalhumanities.org
Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 07:42:43 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: [Humanist]  22.654 a BILLION e-books???



                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 654.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist-AT-lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert-AT-gmail.com>          (186)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.652 what good are a billion ebooks?

  [2]   From:    Matthew Kirschenbaum <mkirschenbaum-AT-gmail.com>           (177)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.652 what good are a billion ebooks?

  [3]   From:    James Rovira <jamesrovira-AT-gmail.com>                      (34)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.652 what good are a billion ebooks?


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 09:22:28 +0100
        From: Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert-AT-gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.652 what good are a billion ebooks?
        In-Reply-To: <20090327060130.15EE02FC9A-AT-woodward.joyent.us>


Thanks for a splendid vision. For what it's worth: I like it, even believe
it up to point. I'm curious to see whether it will earn you howls and
outcries. Might also be a kind of eerie deafening silence...

Can I add in that a billion electronic books will get us to the point were
it becomes feasible to put out semi-intelligent bots? Agents operating on
basis of a formalized learning algorithm. At first these will be very stupid
indeed (just google like morphology based spiders). But we will evolve them
over time into rather powerful means for scanning, preselecting, relating
and weighting the information 'out there' that's relevant to the problems
we're studying. This, I think, will add to your 10% base interest. But only
if we have the data, vast amounts of it.

Kind regards,
Joris van Zundert

[Quoted message omitted because of its length; for the context see Humanist 22.652. --WM]

-- 
Mr. Joris J. van Zundert, MA
Dept. of Software R & D
Huygens Institute
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Contact information can be found at
http://www.huygensinstituut.knaw.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=222&Itemid=125&lang=en

A disclaimer is applicable to this e-mail, for more information please refer
to
http://www.huygensinstituut.knaw.nl/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=223&Itemid=126&lang=en



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 07:37:12 -0400
        From: Matthew Kirschenbaum <mkirschenbaum-AT-gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.652 what good are a billion ebooks?
        In-Reply-To: <20090327060130.15EE02FC9A-AT-woodward.joyent.us>

The estimates I've seen put the total number of books published and
printed in the history of the world at around 65-75 million. That's a
lot of books, but also a lot of books shy of a billion.

I mention it because 65-75 million objects to digitize just isn't all
that many. It seems eminently within reach of current patterns and
trends (leaving aside other matters, such as IP and access). Matt


-- 
Matthew Kirschenbaum
Associate Professor of English
Associate Director,
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
University of Maryland
301-405-8505 or 301-314-7111 (fax)
http://www.mith.umd.edu/
http://www.otal.umd.edu/~mgk/
http://mechanisms-book.blogspot.com/



--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 09:47:28 -0400
        From: James Rovira <jamesrovira-AT-gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.652 what good are a billion ebooks?
        In-Reply-To: <20090327060130.15EE02FC9A-AT-woodward.joyent.us>

This is beyond silly, Michael.  We don't learn from books for 70 years
because we don't read for seventy years; meaningful reading perhaps
doesn't begin until our teenage years and could conceivably end after
retirement.  Furthermore, the accumulation of knowledge for any one
individual is not necessarily an accumulation of knowledge for the
human race, unless that individual publishes.  But when considering
what publication entails, perhaps the most important thing about
knowledge is not its accumulation or quantification but how we -use-
it.  I could add to this: how much redundancy is there in a billion
books?  How many of those billions books are fluff or idiotic --
popular best sellers, editorials, newspaper articles, comic books?
These are all valid as objects of cultural study but do not
necessarily contribute to the growth of human knowledge until they've
been -written about-.

Finally, the point is moot as a response to what I actually wrote
because I acknowledge advantages to speed of access but questioned
what phenomenological changes, specifically, are involved in the
transition from print to electronic media.  This leads me to consider
another question: what good are a billion books to those who don't
fully understand what they read?  What would you learn better from: a
deep understanding of a single very good book or a surface
understanding of 100 lesser books?

I appreciate Willard's and other listmembers' earlier posts and regret
not having time to respond yet.  I hope to soon.

Jim R

_______________________________________________
List posts to: humanist-AT-lists.digitalhumanities.org
List info and archives at at: http://digitalhumanities.org/humanist
Listmember interface at: http://digitalhumanities.org/humanist/Restricted/listmember_interface.php
Subscribe at: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/membership_form.php




   

Humanist Main Page

 

Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005