Long live books: the Open Library project

Forget about book-driven social networking. Forget about book blogs. Forget about bookcrossing. Don’t bother with fads. Stop dressing up your love for books in the flavor-of-the-day sauce.

Build something enduring instead. How about an open catalog and library of all the world’s books?

That’s the vision for Aaron Swartz‘s and Brewster Kahle‘s Open Library project.

I’m with you, guys. No matter how cool video is, at the end of the day, we are human because we have words; the Greeks’ logos stands for “word” and “reason” at the same time (as Carla reminded me today). When words were scratched on wet clay, painted on papyrus, carved in marble, inked on paper, we had the most powerful technology in history: writing. Then there came printing – amazingly, only a few centuries old. And now we have a lot of books: in Swartz’s words, “Books are the place you go when you have something you want to share with the world — our planet’s cultural legacy”.

Without reading and writing, we lose ninety per cent of our words. Without words, we revert to gestures. Without words, we are monkeys. Long live books.

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