Saturday, August 7, 2010

129,864,880

That's the number of books in the world according to Google's algorithm and suggests the audacity of the Google Books and Google Library project. It's the great library of the modern age and offers some continuity to a tenuous history. Sergey Brin in the NY Times:

"In the Insurance Year Book 1880-1881, which I found on Google Books, Cornelius Walford chronicles the destruction of dozens of libraries and millions of books, in the hope that such a record will 'impress the necessity of something being done' to preserve them. The famous library at Alexandria burned three times, in 48 B.C., A.D. 273 and A.D. 640, as did the Library of Congress, where a fire in 1851 destroyed two-thirds of the collection."

The first known libraries were in ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, allowing me to reference my wife's joke Jeopardy header for a category on the end of original Mesopotamian civilization (referencing a Jennifer Love Hewitt movie):

I Know What You Did Last Sumer

Very nerdy, Cypria.

(image credit: photograph by Mark Pellegrini of copy of the Gutenberg Bible at the US Library of Congress)