I first heard this same question back in 1970.  At the time it was couched
as 'everything on microfiche' and was desk-sized rather than iPod sized.
Even back then it would have been possible, if not actually feasible.  I
don't remember that we came up with any great insights, though.

One thing you can get on an iPod, though, is an awful lot of metadata.  The
40 gig one could hold all of WorldCat, fully indexed with a little
compression.  I've actually done that on a 60 gig device about the same
size.  As David points out though, as the networks get better and more
ubiquitous, what's the point?  With slight changes in cost structures, that
could be true of music, too.  Why go to the trouble of storing it locally if
it's all available over the net?


-----Original Message-----
From: David Huckleby [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 2:59 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] iPods as a library

I understand the theoretical need to have libraries stored on small devices.
  However, with the push of wireless technology (phones, not 802.11
networks), a single repository that serves the data to wireless enabled
devices, to me, seems the most logical choice.  Already, I can download
songs to my phone.  Why not text on a device a little larger?
I think back to the guy who spent all his time focusing on getting as much
reflection and light out of a candle as possible, to make as much light as
he could.  He never saw the switch flip.

Putting libraries on a storage device is a great start, but at what point do
we get tired of the manufacturing costs.

>From: Roy Tennant <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] iPods as a library
>Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 11:28:45 -0700
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>And I think most all of our users would agree. One of the lessons we
>_should have_ learned from Google is that it doesn't matter if you have
>a huge pile of stuff, most of which is crap, if the good stuff is
>mostly what people see in the first few results screens. Librarians
>tend to be way too focused on creating a good pile of stuff and not
>focused enough on the tools to allow users to get to the good stuff
>from an undifferentiated pile.
>On Jul 20, 2004, at 10:58 AM, Hickey,Thom wrote:
>>I'm afraid that if I had to choose between a few thousand (or even a
>>hundred-thousand) well-managed items and 'everything', I'd take
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: William Wueppelmann [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>>Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2004 1:46 PM
>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] iPods as a library
>>Eric Lease Morgan wrote:
>>>This, taken to a its logical conclusion, seems to say that libraries
>>>are about providing access to information to the people who can't get
>>>access any other way. This group of people will be getting smaller and
>>>smaller. I imagine a time when the entire content of a library can be
>>>stored on a thing the size and shape of a sugar cube. To read the
>>>content of the cube you will drop it into a device, and the device
>>>facilitate access. As the amount of content on cube increases the less
>>>important access will be come and the more important services against
>>>the content will become. This, in my opinion, is an opportunity for
>>>librarianship. It is where librarianship can grow and fill a niche.
>>I recall seeing some documentary where a physicist argued that you
>>fit the entire content of the Encyclopedia Britannica (text only, no
>>formatting or pictures) on to an area equal to the head of a pin, but
>>that would be about the theoretical maximum storage density possible,
>>and you would need a powerful electron microscope to read it. If that
>>true, I think that means you could fit the text equivalent of 10,000
>>Britannicas on an area roughly the size of a compact disc. Of course,
>>storing data in layers in a three dimensional container, you could get
>>even more but, as impressive as that kind of storage density is, it
>>seems doubtful that we could store the entire content of a large modern
>>library on such a small device, never mind all of the material that a
>>future library might have. Not only can we expect libraries to have
>>text, images, and sound in the future, but also exotic storage-gobbling
>>stuff like ultra-high definition three-dimensional video, digital
>>with microscopic levels of detail, a set of 1:1 scale maps of Earth,
>>other things that I am sure no one will be able to live without once
>>they are possible.
>>At any rate, history has shown that we have the impressive ability to
>>come up with new storage needs just as quickly as new storage
>>can be developed. Despite higher and higher storage densities, it
>>certainly seems that the physical space devoted to digital data storage
>>is going up, not down. I have every confidence that we will continue to
>>rely on buildings rather than pockets for our primary data storage
>>I think that libraries have always been about access services and not
>>just storage. In order to access something, you have to have it in the
>>first place, but that isn't enough. Libraries are valuable not just
>>because they contain information but because the information is
>>selected, cataloged, and sorted. A big pile containing every book ever
>>published isn't nearly as useful as a few thousand items, selected for
>>relevance, cataloged, classified according to some relevant theme, and
>>serviced by people and/or systems with the ability to identify and
>>retrieve the most relevant materials for a particular need. We already
>>have an example of what an enormous repository of information with no
>>selection policy, no central management, and only primitive mediated
>>access looks like, and it seems to underscore the enormous value of
>>organization and mediation.
>>William Wueppelmann
>>** NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: [log in to unmask] **
>>** Please update your address book.                     **

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